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January 2018

Simply living

Ashtanga Yoga THE HOPE PARADOX COMPASSION


Daaji sheds Charles Eisenstein on hope Our relationship with
new light and the human condition the animal kingdom
Heartfulness
Creative Team

Editorial Team – Meghana Anand, Sylvie Berti Rossi, Genia Catala,


Elizabeth Denley, Emma Ivaturi
Design Team – Hélène Camilleri, Emma Ivaturi, Uma Maheswari, Rike Michaelsen, Nehal Tantia,
Photography – Brendan Church, Talia Cohen, Geneviève Dallaire, Dan Grinwis, Om Hellenkamp,
Thomas Lambert, Yves Leresche, Stephen Lustig, Philippe Matsas, Rike Michaelsen,
Evan McDougall, Chiên Pham, Steven Ramon, Lewis Roberts, Jon Tyson, Roopa Upadhyaya
Art – Elisabeth Endresen, Henry Ottmann, Jasmee Rathod, Yulia Veresk
Writers – Meghana Anand, Charles Eisenstein, Elisabeth Endresen,
Alanda Greene, Durga Natarajan, Kamlesh Patel, Judith Polston,
Dr Nandini Shekhar, Chiara Townley, Dorit Vaarning, Prashanth Vasu, Ravi Venkatesan
Interviewees – Monique Atlan, Roger-Pol Droit, Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari, Monicka Singh,
Sandeh von Tucher

ISSN 2455-7684

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The views expressed in the contributions in this publication do not always reflect those of the editors,
the Heartfulness Institute, or the Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation.
Contributors
Kamlesh Patel
Known to many as Daaji, Kamlesh Patel is the fourth guide
in the Heartfulness tradition of meditation. Embracing the
many roles of a modern-day teacher, he has that rare capacity
that allows him to dive deep into the center of his existence
in the heart, and simultaneously have a scientific approach to
original research in the field of meditation, spirituality and
human evolution. He is a prolific speaker and writer, and you
can read his latest series on the evolution of consciousness. To
learn more about Daaji, go to www.daaji.org.

Roger-Pol Droit and Monique Atlan


Roger-Pol Droit is a philosopher and writer. After having
a career as a Professor of Philosophy, he then focused on
research at the National Center for Scientific Research in
Paris, and he is now a prominent columnist, and the author
of many stories and books. Monique Atlan is a journalist and
editor-in-chief of the France 2 television channel. Together
they have authored the book, Does Hope Have a Future?

Charles Eisenstein
Charles Eisenstein is a speaker and writer focusing on
themes of human culture and identity. He is the author of
several books, most recently Sacred Economics and The More
Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible. His background
includes a degree in mathematics and philosophy from Yale,
a decade in Taiwan as a translator, and stints as a college
instructor, a yoga teacher, and a construction worker. He
currently writes and speaks full-time. He lives in Asheville,
North Carolina with his wife and four children.
Hear tfulness
Celebrating the Dawn

The New Year of 2018 is here. What would you say our hope meter should be for the
coming year? If you read the news, you may think it is at an all time low, but there is de-
finitely truth to the old adage that the darkest night is just before the dawn. In fact, it is
even better than that – the dawn already exists within the depths of darkness, and if we
observe humanity today we find that the dawn has been emerging for some time, slowly,
quietly, but surely. How to remain hopeful in the midst of nuclear threats, terrorism, si-
gnificant movements of refugees around the world, climate change, and the breakdown
of structures, traditions and the old? How to also focus on the beautiful and wonderful
things that are happening in the world? Energy flows where our attention goes, so what
do we choose: disillusionment or hope? Do we see the problems that abound as a cata-
lyst for change, propelling us upwards towards a higher vibration?

As a species with the consciousness, mental capacity, willpower and intelligence to


5
bring about change, we are able to weave our destiny and move in the direction we want
to go. In this issue Charles Eisentein shares his reasons for hope, especially with the
younger generations, and Daaji sheds new light on the relevance of Ashtanga Yoga in
today’s world, including how these eight practices change our world for the better. In
an exclusive interview, Dr Monicka Singh presents her visionary holistic approach to
conception, pregnancy, childbirth and parenting, and Prashanth Vasu share some tips
on how to transform organizations in the corporate world. There is plenty of scope in
this issue for hope, change and celebrating human potential. In the words of George
Harrison of the Beatles, “Here comes the sun.”

Wishing you all the very best for 2018,

The Editors

Writer & Editor – Elizabeth Denley (right)


Editor – Sylvie Berti Rossi (bottom left)
Content & Design – Emma Ivaturi (left)
Design & Art – Rike Michaelsen (bottom right)

Ja nua r y 2018
10 20 32

it changes
everything
thought
focus
Attitude Paradox
Poise is the ultimate cool
How balance leads to
excellence.
in action By their fruits ye shall
know them
Charles Eisenstein explores
12 Corporate world
hope and despair in today's
world

Animals How to transform 34


Compassion for other organizations
creatures 22 Everyday perspectives
14 On hope
Training 08
A touching memory The Heartful Presenter
Seeds of hope part 7 Interview
17 26 Has hope a future ?
Roger-Pol Droit and Monique
Tips Wisdom Atlan: for hope, we must think
Coping with turmoil One who only gives beyond ourselves.
18 28 38
44 54 70

interview taste of life


Conscious Parenting Health
Monicka Singh: the journey
from conception to parenting. Matcha tea
46 72
Subconscious
On dreams, snakes and
be opening doors
76
inspired Art Essay
To wonder
and be surprised
Science of spirituality
Ashtanga Yoga - Yama 78
The five vows of a seeker: Daaji on Lessons from the garden
the first rung of Yoga. Compost
56 82
Inner search Tradition
A terrible longing Ancient practises–
in the heart new perspectives
Why do we search for something
higher?
86
64
Inspiration
Eyes of the heart
Up
90
69
Ever yday perspectives

Scarlet Alicia
Hope I remember
becomes my Guide
important talking
when life about
David is hard. hope and
Hope is The beauty he said,
the feeling of hope “Without
in my feet and the difficulty, too, is hope, there is no life. Hope
and the that we have to have hope is life.”
warmth in in the face of failure, hope I feel very in tune with that.
my heart after destruction, hope in Hope is like an engine
as I walk the face of trauma, after driving me, the fuel of
my path, knowing that each a loss, hope when facing my life.
joyful step brings growth danger, we must hope even It's a permanent conviction
and light. in the face of despair. So that everything and
Hope is knowing as the hope is an art really, an everyone can improve and
sun sets on a glorious day art where we create an transform themself for the
the dark night will yield to alternative reality to what better.
On hope a new dawn. As the first is now. Even if that reality Hope is like a powerful
We have posed 3 questions rays breach the darkness a is only within us for the alchemist, which permit us
about hope to our readers. fire is kindled in my heart. moment. The power of even in the worst situations
That radiant orange ember hope is that our hope can to stand up again, and feel
W hat gives you I call hope. Hope grows become a reality outside of that the next second will be
h o p e ?  into a burning passion ourselves. Thus, hope is the better.
that inspires and lights my fundament of change. Hope is a recall that life is
What does it way. Hope is eclipsed but Having hope today is vitally in motion. It's an attitude
mean to have remains. important. When I see the we can perceive, and feel
h o p e t o d a y ?  In the depths of sorrow and state of the world – how the beauty and the field of
grief, hope is the glimmer humans are committing possibility in each person
What is the color that replaces fear. And in every crime imaginable and each thing.
of hope? the absence of certainty our against each other, against Now I can say that hope
minds are free to speculate animals, against nature – I is faith in the Divine. It's
on the fantastic future that have to hope. In myself superconsciousness in
awaits.  I have to create a world which we consider the
If you find yourself that is better, with all my Divine in all. It is the
spiraling downwards in the being I must hope that breath of life, his essence …
clutches of fear, consider it will manifest. What I work with young people
throwing away the risk gives me hope is when I and in the art world.
assessment, listening to witness acts of kindness Recently my Guide told us,
your heart and reaching for and compassion. It shows “Our work is to give hope.”
the light of hope. me that other people are It's a challenge but I love it,
hoping too. and hope to transmit also
Edinburgh, Scotland this art of living.
Toulon, France
Mulhouse, France

Hea r tf ulnes s
Elizabeth
Hope has
coloured
my world Sometimes the news is
and so bleak in this crazy
been my disconnected world and
constant it can be hard to keep Kim
companion clutching to the hope that For me,
for the last 18 months since things can turn around. Our it's about
my startling diagnosis of spiritual guides and trainers seeing the
a terminal illness in May emphasize the importance beauty
2016. of changing ourselves, in each
Although a shock, my and in so doing, the world moment.
experience during this around changes. It's about
whole rather rocky My belief is that our hope steadiness of mind, not
journey has been one lies in the love that forms wandering into negativity. Gregory
of extraordinary caring, our link in our oneness … It's about choosing to Hope
understanding, support and the love that has kept my look in the direction of comes
love from those around me! hope alive on this journey joy, happiness, faith, and from Faith.
My spiritual guide, fellow back to health. not being willing to tread Faith is the
meditators, friends and down the path of doubt, foundation,
family have been there for Sydney, Australia fear, and thinking, thinking, without
me at every moment and I thinking. It's the moment- which it is
can’t be more grateful for to-moment meditation of impossible to realize Hope.
this. They have opened their Lusine life, with eyes open and To have hope today is to
hearts, given of themselves Hope heart wide open. It has no strengthen the spiritual
and given and given and gives me color, shape or form. It's connection with the inner
given to meet my every the inner lightness and love. As one Self and not to stop the
need. feeling to so very dear used to say, process of evolution. Here
This outpouring of love live and to where there's life there's and Now.
and care has been one of love life hope. I feel hope is an Hope has no universal
the main factors that kept and people attitude, a state, a condition, coloring, it is individual,
hope alive. Hope for me around me! Or vice versa, a being. Alertness and and depends on many
personally in terms of a the inner feeling to live practice lead me to choose reasons. In my opinion
return to health in all facets, and to love life and people hope in every instant. It there is no color, but there
spiritually, emotionally around me gives me hope. makes a pathway to Love. is colorless magnetic
and physically. I believe Just opening my eyes in the Not an action, but rather a radiance.
we need to remain on this morning, I have hope, to state of being in the heart.
planet as long as we can in live the day today. That's what hope means to Minsk, Belarus
order to realize our greatest The color of my hope is me at this moment!
potential. As well as hope bright and sunny, with
for the planet at large. raindrops, of course! Toronto, Canada

Minsk, Belarus

Ja nua r y 2018
And the day came

IT CHANGES EVERYTHING
when the risk to
remain tight in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took to blossom

Anais Nin
Change your attitude

Poise
is t h e U lt imat e
Co o l
The other day I was reading Poise is an issue in every awareness to sustain
12 about poise – that state arena where relationships balance, composure and
of consciousness where impact the quality of equanimity in the face of
everything is in perfect collaboration, partnership extraordinary challenges.
balance. The word poise is and creativity. When Stokes says that, when
synonymous with balance, we lose our poise in poised, we are fully present
equilibrium, control, grace predictable patterns, we in our environment, glad
and presence. are stuck, unable to tap to be alive. Balanced and
tour limitless powers. composed, we are able to
As a coach and Then anger, irritation, draw all that is pleasurable
mindfulness practitioner, impatience, self-pity, from any situation.
I became immensely and victimhood pose Poised, we are able to
interested in poise, as considerable problems be connected, grateful,
DR NANDINI to me it represented the for colleagues, partners, creative and light-
SHEKHAR epitome of perfection – spouses, or supervisors, hearted, no matter
reviews the 2011 what I have always been but even more so for us. what is happening.
book, Poise: seeking – the perfect In other words, poise
balance of the material According to Gary is the ultimate cool,
A Warrior’s Guide
and spiritual lives. That Stokes, the author of attractive and sane.
by Gary Stokes, and sacred space where Poise: A Warrior’s Guide,
is inspired to follow everything is as it should modern organizations Stokes also examines the
his guidance in her be. require men and women great costs to us when we
day-to-day life. who have enough self- lose our poise: we make

Hear tfulness
mistakes, our judgment is distorted and we ourselves, we will lose our poise. Our potential
make bad decisions. Our enjoyment of life will be blocked, and our lives will remain
is diminished and our potential evaporates trapped in an eddy as we go round and round,
temporarily or even permanently as we lose feeling as if we’re on the move, but actually
access to our love. Failing to sustain poise, we going nowhere.
remain trapped in a limited life, circling in
an eddy, going nowhere, stuck in a universal Living a life of poise implies that we are able to
pattern of negative thinking and behavior. The deal with everything that comes to us. We use
most impactful statement for me is that the every challenge thrown at us and everything is
universal cause of lost poise is self-pity. a source of learning.

Self-pity is often our response when something Stokes uses a Poise Checklist to get back to
happens that we don’t like. We become a poise when we are upset in any way. Here’s
victim in order to explain why we feel bad. We his list:
blame someone else: “Someone is doing this
to me!” We tell sympathetic people our victim • Am I in the present right now?
story, and they oblige by saying, “Oh, you poor
thing,” or something similar. • Am I connected to others with love, and
am I connected with my values, my mission,
Then we obsess and hope that divine justice and myself ?
or our own acts of revenge will bring our
adversaries down. As long as we feel sorry for • Am I grateful right now? 13
• Do I have access to my creativity,
improvising, refusing to be trapped?

• Is my heart light, unburdened by my own


heaviness and self-absorption?

We may still lose our poise once


in a while, but we know what to
do – get back into the present,
reconnect, give thanks,
improvise, and laugh at
ourselves.

No matter what is
happening, poise is the
ultimate cool.

Ja nua r y 2018
Expand compassion

Is Compassion
Only For Humans?
JUDITH POLSTON is a member of Mercy for Animals. She gives
us a broader and encompassing vision of compassion,
and asks some challenging questions.

14

Hear tfulness
Compassion is when feelings and connect
we have sympathy with them on a soul level.
and concern about Scientific studies show
another’s suffering and that elephants, birds,
misfortunes. When we chimpanzees, giraffes,
feel heartbroken by cows and sheep mourn
another person’s misery their dead and feel
we may instantly want to suffering. The paradox is:
act to relieve their pain. we love our pets, yet we
And compassion is about eat other animals.
‘action’; it is not just
being empathetic. How Due to the worldwide
do we really know if we practices of factory
have real compassion? farming, animals are
What comes first – love sometimes raised in
or compassion? How are torturous conditions
they intertwined? only to meet violent
deaths to feed humans.
One of my spiritual In 2001, the United
Guides gives a hint when States Department of
he says: “Love has to be Agriculture (USDA)
compassionate. It cannot stated that 45 billion 15
have joy at somebody animals were slaughtered
else’s suffering. Love, worldwide for human
compassion and mercy consumption. This figure All beings tremble before violence.
are not three different has risen to 55 billion All fear death.
things. Love in action is in 2017, and it does not All love life.
mercy and compassion.” include the tons of fish See yourself in others.
that are killed for the
Then whom can you hurt?
Spiritual growth brings same purpose each year.
What harm can you do?
us to our original state, Some of these animals
which is pure love, and in don’t even make it to the
He who seeks happiness
this state compassion and slaughterhouse, as they By hurting those who seek happiness
mercy are automatically die prematurely from Will never f ind happiness.
felt for the sufferings stress, disease, handling, For your brother is like you.
of others. And this transportation and He wants to be happy.
extends to animals as deprivation. Never harm him
well as humans. Animals And when you leave this life
have souls and need While many of us are You too will f ind happiness.
our protection. Any vegetarian, dairy foods
dog or cat owner will and eggs are still often
tell you with conviction part of our diet. Cows are Dhammapada 129-130,
that their animals have artificially impregnated translated by Thomas Byrom

Ja nua r y 2018
Animals, like us, are living
This information, while hard to hear, is
souls. They are not things. important to know in order to change
They are not objects. our eating habits and lifestyle. An ancient
Vedic teaching, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,
Neither are they human.
16 meaning ‘One World, One Family’, tells
Yet they mourn. They love. us to love and respect all human beings,
animals, trees, rivers and mountains as one.
They dance. They suffer. Ahimsa (non-violence) is an important
They know the peaks and virtue: to avoid harming all living creatures.
chasms of being. So are we really compassionate, merciful
human beings? As we evolve, are we
Gary Kowalski sensitive enough to the killing of other
beings? These are the questions we need to
ask ourselves.

many times in their shortened lifespan,


just to give milk. We human beings are
the only species that consume the milk
of another species. The calves are not
only deprived of milk, but they are taken References:
away from their mothers within one to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations; USDA, National Agricultural Statistics
three days after birth to be slaughtered Service; Animal Aid
for veal. Chickens and pigs live in terrible http://www.vegnews.com/articles/page.do;jsessionid
environments and die painful deaths for us =B43CBA0870DEE9DEB97C2983484B17D1?pageId
to have bacon and eggs in the morning. =10079&catId=5

Hear tfulness
Seeds
of Hope

P A R TH A S A R ATH I N A R AYA N Ais inspired by a childhood


memory to value hope and perseverance.

In my childhood days I used to spend a lot of time with my maternal grandfather,


who stayed in a farmhouse on a beautiful farm. There were cows, chickens and the
entire place was lively with a refreshing atmosphere. One day, when I was walking
with my grandfather, I noticed a sugarcane farm on fire. Initially I thought it was due
to an accident, but when grandfather explained that the farmer had intentionally lit
the fire, I was shocked. Why would somebody do that intentionally ?

Grandfather explained that the jaggery prices were too low that year and there
were no buyers for sugarcane. The farmer couldn’t cover his costs of manufacturing
jaggery, and could not afford to lose money in doing so. Instead he allowed the
cane to dry out and set it on fire. When I asked my grandfather, “What will he do
for his living?” he didn’t have an answer, but his expression said everything. A few
months later, I saw the farmer planting sugarcane in the same field he had burnt a
few months back.

This incident happened 15 to 20 years ago, but it keeps popping up in my mind


every now and then. Was the farmer’s action a reflection of perseverance or hope? At
some point I even thought he was foolish to commit the same mistake by planting
the same crop, but then another perspective arose in my mind, which created a
great respect for farmers in me. I felt that his perseverance in the face of life’s
unpredictability was possible only because of hope.

A farmer’s life is full of gambles. For one thing, crop prices are not fixed. Another
is that nature is not always kind to farmers. They are not only dependent on the
rains and climatic conditions, but even the insects, animals and birds all have an
impact on the successful yield of the crop. Despite all the possible extremes, farmers
continue to sow their seeds with hope and they feed humanity.
Positive attitude

Rising above

inner
turmoil
18

DURGA NATARAJAN shares her


favorite tips on how she handles inner
turmoil and regains a sense of well-being.

Many times I find that we cope with stress,


anxiety, and inner restlessness by indulging
in things outside ourselves. The other day
after work, a friend of mine had come
home to chat about some issues she was
going through. As I was showering, I heard
her singing a melancholy Hindi film song
downstairs. Her voice grew louder or softer
depending on the thoughts in her mind,
and I felt heavy in the heart listening to
her singing. I could feel that she was trying
to keep her mind from wandering into the

Hear tfulness
multitude of family and career issues she
had on her plate.
Retail therapy is another well-known
way that we try to forget about problems,
but again, how well does it work? These
behaviors are just symptoms of our inner
disturbance, our way of trying to cope with
feeling uncomfortable, so how to treat the
underlying cause? Our inner apparatus goes
through a lot of wear and tear, just like our
bodies, and often needs attention from us.

When inner turmoil strikes, here are some


things that have worked for me:

• Relax and calm yourself down.

• Sit quietly and connect with your inner


self.
19
• For some time of the day, don't indulge
in any activity. Just be in the moment.

• When you feel a little better, get up and


analyze the situation. It's not always as
bad as it seems. Acceptance changes the
situation a lot as you start feeling it can
be dealt with.

• Find out the pros and cons, and what


can be done in the present moment.

• Listen to your heart’s guidance on what


to do and follow it.

In a nutshell, treat it internally. It will take


you a long way.

Ja nua r y 2018
in action
Thought
If your actions
inspire others to
dream more,
learn more, do more
and become more,
you are a leader.

John Quincy Adams


Corporate life

how to transform
o r ga n i z at i o n s
PRASHANTH VASU explains the value of meditation in
the corporate world, and outlines specific ways it can transform
organizations by transforming individuals who work for them.

The need for a


New WAY
On the one hand, corporate life is a redeeming we enjoy through our professional life.
force as it helps raise the standard of living Associated lifestyle disorders and the growth
22 of human beings by facilitating job creation in chronic diseases are natural corollaries,
at scale. Economic growth has become the and the very benefits of wealth, health and
yardstick for measuring progress and the education that economic progress brings are
corporate world is a vital vehicle to enable being eroded away. When individuals are thus
this. The second and third order benefits of de-centered, an organization’s performance
economic progress are also well researched suffers.
and understood.
Can we stifle economic progress or slow
However, the flip side is becoming more down the pace of corporate life? It’s
evident in what is now called the VUCA world difficult to imagine. Instead we need to
– volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous. look at changing our ability to cope with
Long and late hours are now routine. With increasing demands and in fact, drive peak
the rise in global trade, working and traveling performance in this VUCA setting. This
across cultures and time zones have become requires implementing practices that restore
the order of the day. Thanks to the forces of balance in individuals and thereby enable
technology and urbanization, the need for organizational performance.
organizations and employees to rapidly and
continuously change has become permanent. Meditation is an age-old tool that does restore
this sense of balance. Its benefits on the
These are not ordinary disruptions and the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual
sheer intensity of professional life places an levels are becoming increasingly evident
acute strain on individuals. So, loss of balance through scientific research. Progressively, it
is a threatening counterweight to the benefits is moving from a mystical practice that is

Hear tfulness
23

to be undertaken in seclusion, with the aim of which the benefits of Heartfulness Meditation
achieving a spiritual goal, to a practical tool that can manifest individually and organizationally.
can be integrated into daily life, with the aim
of helping us lead a productive, purposeful and
joyful life. Clarity and
PRoductivity
Heartfulness Meditation is a unique method
that helps us acquire and operate from a The first benefit is the clarity of thought of a
deep sense of centeredness. Practitioners of mind that is well-regulated through meditation.
Heartfulness actually experience an inner This in turn positively affects our productivity
balance even while being intensely active. We and efficiency.
are able to perform closer to our real potential.
We witness the continuous change in our own Uncluttered by the traffic of thoughts, through
consciousness and are, therefore, able to better meditation the mind becomes focused and is
adapt to the demands of the world. able to attend to one topic or issue at a time,
giving it full attention. Significant time is saved
When individuals in an organization embrace in avoiding distractions and we are able to
meditation, the organization at large benefits accomplish a lot more with this clarified mind
– it is also able to perform and transform than we would otherwise. This capacity is a vital
simultaneously. Here are some specific ways in

Ja nua r y 2018
asset, especially for senior executives who
often have diverse tasks to manage on a daily
Empathy and
basis. Collaboration
The third benefit is the capacity to feel and
Intuition and empathize that develops out of a heart-based
Decision making meditation. This in turn makes a dramatic
24 difference to collaboration and coordination
in an organization.
The second benefit is the intuitive capacity of
an intellect that is fine-tuned by meditation. Most business processes require multiple
This in turn positively impacts the quality of functions to work in a coordinated manner.
decision-making. Often, these processes are sub-optimal due
to the strain in interpersonal relationships
Often times, sub-optimal decisions on between people in different functions, such as
important matters such as staffing key roles, manufacturing and sales, product development
and go or no-go decisions on key business and manufacturing, etc. When our hearts’
choices, are taken in reaction to external intentions are purified through a heart-based
pressures or on the basis of past prejudices. meditation, we can progressively learn to see
Such decisions by senior executives can have the connectedness in the world, to trust and
drastic effects on an organization. to place the interest of the organization over
that of our specific function and in turn over
With an intellect that is refined through our personal benefit. A more empathetic and
meditation, the basis of decision-making non-judgmental approach starts pervading
shifts from reactive to intellectual (logical our interactions and we become more
and data-based) to intuitive (also perception proficient in wielding the magic instrument
and wisdom-based). Imagine the benefits of of feeling beyond only rational thinking.
this capacity in our VUCA world where the As a corollary, win-win solutions naturally
velocity of decision-making is very high – it emerge to challenges. Organizations with a
can shape an organization’s destiny! good proportion of emotionally intelligent

Hear tfulness
individuals lose minimum energy in internal to continuously improve and renew. Such
friction and are, therefore, fully available to organizations are purposed for excellence.
serve their clients and stakeholders.

Joy and An organization as a


PURPOSE HUMAN COLLECTIVE
The fourth benefit is a sense of lightness and Just as in individual has a physical and
joy that emerges when our consciousness subtle existence, we can very well consider
itself evolves through meditation. This an organization to have a physical and a
positive energy helps create a purposeful subtle existence too. The physical existence
organization that is both given to continuous of the organization comprises its hard assets
improvement and resilient to shocks in the and infrastructure while the subtle existence
external world. is its collective mind, intellect, identity and
consciousness created by its people. The
A heart-based meditative practice creates hard assets are easily replicable. So, truly
unconditional joy and fills our lives with distinguished organizations differentiate
positive energy. As we learn to be meditatively themselves based on their subtle existence or
active, even intense work starts energizing, soft assets, which is essentially their people.
rather than draining us. We are thus able to
better balance professional and personal life. When organizations have a healthy 25
An organization with a healthy proportion of proportion of heartful professionals, they
such joy-filled individuals is better positioned can simultaneously perform and, transform
in this rapidly evolving world. Heartfulness
Meditation is a simple practice that allows
us to acquire and operate from a state of
balance. Through the unique method of Yogic
Transmission, the time and effort required to
acquire such states is substantially reduced.
Heartfulness regulates the mind, fine-tunes
the intellect, purifies the heart and, as a
result, our consciousness evolves. We can
perform closer to our true potential and also
transform to suit the needs of the hour.

There is an old saying that perfection of the


whole happens through perfection of the parts.
Given the time we all spend in our corporate
life in this day and age, organizations will
benefit by supporting employees through
the personal process of realizing their inner
potential.

Ja nua r y 2018
Corporate training

TH E H E A RT F U L
P R E S E NT E R
PART 7

In the last 6 articles, RAVI VENKATESAN has shared ideas about the reasons
public speakers fail, the 26 Cs of good communication, body language and voice
modulation, the ‘power of pause’, and the need for presence and empathy. In this
final article of the series he explores the Impact we can make as speakers.

Impact is what you leave


with your audience. The #1 complaint about
26 It is the result of your most talks is that they are too
communication and is how it long. Work hard to make your
will be remembered. messages concise. Cut out all
Summarize the redundant words.
Many times speakers deliver takeaways that Use statistics
excellent content, have you want them to Concise and anecdotes
several important messages remember. Complete e to make your
CO
iv

in their talk, make a lot of the conversation, message


Comp ehens

MP

great points, and even make and provide them compelling.


ELLING

a really good connection a way to move Speak to “What


r

with the audience. Even forward. is in it for me?”


still, the audience leaves
without much impact. How
Co

can we ensure that this vi


ve
n

nc ti
doesn’t happen to us ? Let your ing ea Be creative
Cr
conviction in with visual aids,
the topic come across personal stories
There are 5 Cs that will naturally. and analogies.
ensure that you have an Don’t try to convince Make it relatable.
impact on your audience explicitly.
every single time :

Hear tfulness
Here are a few
exercises to sharpen
your ability to deliver
the right impact :
Assume that you’ve Assume that you’ve Practice delivering a
just talked about the conducted an introductory punchline after setting 27
importance of improving workshop on Relaxation it up at the beginning of
the city’s public parks and and Meditation. You’ve your talk. For example, at
play areas. You’ve covered also talked about the the beginning you might
many points and made benefits of incorporating say, “We are going to dive
many arguments. Now these practices in day- into what inflation and
summarize everything in to-day life. Summarize life expectancy increase
terms of 3 key takeaways the two top benefits, and are doing to retirement
and 1 most important remind your audience of plans. I promise to share a
thing to remember. This the next steps they should solution with you today.”
summary should take less take. For example, “When After covering everything,
than a minute. you get home today, please you can refer back to this
take advantage of this promise and deliver a
opportunity and register unique idea or suggestion,
for a free one-on-one for example “As promised,
session with an instructor I want to leave you with
via our website.” a solution. By adding 3%
to your retirement savings
now, while you are in your
20s, you will be covered
for an extra 15 years of
retirement.”

Ja nua r y 2018
28

DORIT VAARNING first

One Who traveled to India to meet Ram


Chandra of Shahjahanpur in
1978. She shares some of her
experiences of being with this
humble, insignificant being, who
O n ly Gi v es is known to many as Babuji.
Inner wisdom

I
t is a bit difficult to tell stories about Babuji looked down at me tenderly and said
Babuji, because I have the feeling that my softly, “Yes, it can come and stay forever.”
stories tell more about myself than about
him. For, after all, who is he? What I could Then Babuji gave his final definition: “Love
see was only what I was capable of realizing, is craving for Reality. Opening yourself to
and what he permitted me to see. Reality and Divinity is love.”

The second time I visited him, his head After some time I asked, “What is grace?”
became transparent to me and inside I saw Again those soft tender eyes met mine and
planets moving, following their courses he said with a smile, “Grace is sweetness of
according to the cosmic law. It was like mind.”
looking into a watch. And though this vision My heart melted in the love of his eyes, and
was limited to the inside of his head, I was I could only sigh.
gazing, like through a window, into the Babuji seemed to think over it again, and
unlimited universe itself. The following time confirmed, “Yes, it is correct.”
I came to Babuji, I saw his head like an open
bowl in which there was nothing. Then another question came to me: “Babuji,
what is passion?”
I remember one day he was sitting in his He answered as if making a rhyme, 29
chair with a big flock of people around him, “Excitement in fashion is passion.”
filling the terrace. I came late, and since the Then he put on a doubtful face, “It’s not
only place left was at his feet, I was ordered correct,” he said. But then he came back to
to sit there. Then we started to ask questions. the same idea.
I asked, “What is love?”
Babuji created a beautiful image for us: “Babuji, what is sin?”
“Love is what is alive when a flower blooms, “Improper adjustment of things.”
and will never come again when the flower
closes.” Babuji was the most original, poetic and
The second part of this definition disturbed humorously meaningful person one can
me deeply, so I asked, “But does love have to imagine.
go away? Can it also stay?”

Love is craving for Reality.


Opening yourself to Reality
and Divinity is love.

Ja nua r y 2018
30

Once in Munich in 1980, I asked him, “Babuji, what about divine intoxication?”
And he answered, “Well, I may not say anything against it, since I myself am a smoker!”
Then after a while he asked me suddenly, “Why don’t you just jump into the infinite
ocean?”

One evening in Copenhagen, also in 1980, people had gathered in his bedroom to
spend those cozy evening hours with him when generally he would be in the mood
to talk. That evening he was sitting up in bed in front of everyone, totally ready for a
conversation full of wisdom and laughter. But no word was being spoken. Babuji looked
here and there, obviously up to something, but kept quiet.

Hear tfulness
After some time, he looked around with an Finally he remarked, with the most humble,
apologetic look: “No thought coming,” he timid look you can imagine, “A thought is a
exclaimed. vibration from the Divine, not from such a
Silence again all over. Suddenly, he rose up low being like me.”
as if some event had happened. And very small, with a shy smile, he lay
“That was a thought!” he exclaimed, and down in his pillows.
stared at something invisible, like gazing During Babuji’s visit to South Africa in
at a shooting star. This went on for a while, 1981, someone asked : “What is the correct
Babuji being in quite a humorous mood. behavior after one has hurt somebody ?”

I asked him what


saintliness was.
He replied, “Gentlemanliness, humility.
One who only gives and never asks for
anything in return.”

He answered : “To be in yourself. That is the defensive part, not the offensive one.
something within.” When self is involved, defense is right.”
“Should we avoid hurting others at all
costs ?” “Medium, moderation. Avoid giving During those last hours with him in South
trouble to others. That is a divine dictate. Africa, I asked him what saintliness was.
Not to hurt others is the greatest religion. He replied, “Gentlemanliness, humility. One
I am not like a wasp that if somebody steps who only gives and never asks for anything
on it will sting. If somebody steps on me, I’ll in return.”
be crushed and die. … you should never hurt
the feelings of other hearts. You should play

Excerpt from ‘All Was Drowned in Divinity’ from the book Tears & Laughter : Encounters With a Spiritual Master, 1st edition,
1990, edited by A.J. Born, Shri Ram Chandra Mission, India.
FOCUS

HOPE
Love recognizes
no barriers.
It jumps hurdles,
leaps fences,
penetrates walls to
arrive at its destination
full of hope.

Maya Angelou
Hope in today's world

by t h e i r
fruits
ye s h a l l
k n ow t h e m

It takes going to a music festival to inspire CHARLES EISENSTEIN


to explore the paradox of hope and despair that confronts global
human civilization today. He shares what he does to honor both perspectives to explore the way
forward for our species.

Hear tfulness
I
’m dealing with massive cognitive dissonance cohort, they provide ample proof that the
right now. Multiple contradictory beliefs consciousness behind ecocide and injustice
and perceptions inhabit my mind, each is changing.
compelling on its own terms. How do I
choose? My second input has come in the days since
the festival as I’ve immersed myself in my
I’ll share two of the most contradictory. Last book research. I’m looking at some of the
weekend I spoke at a wonderful music festival direst predictions of climate change which,
near Asheville called Kinnection Campout. in case you weren’t aware, basically entail the
I’ve not yet been to a festival with such a near-term extinction of most species on Earth,
positive, friendly, gentle atmosphere. The humanity with them. Of course I’ve been
entrance booth staff were jovial, the security aware of this narrative for a long time, but
personnel solicitous, and I didn’t see any of actually engaging the data about the various
the aggression, bad drug trips or drinking positive feedback loops is driving it deeper
that is often an undercurrent (though usually into me. Earth has already passed the tipping
not dominant) at such festivals. It occurred to point into catastrophic climate change. Even
me that this event was a field generator for if we eliminated all fossil fuels right now, 35
a ‘new normal’ of compassion and sharing that wouldn’t be enough to arrest runaway
on Earth. What fed my optimism the most, warming. The IPCC’s position is extremely
however, were the astonishing conversations conservative, and even its recommendations
I had with young people there about topics are politically unfeasible. In the face of the
like subtle activism, social permaculture, facts, any optimism I might feel from the
regenerative politics, indigeneity, and so forth festival is a delusion.
– conversations that basically did not exist
when I was in my 20s. Yet then I return to the still-vivid memory
of those beautiful, alive faces, the clear eyes
They embodied understandings that took shining with the light of deep intelligence, and
me decades to develop and that I still inhabit I know deep within my being that, somehow,
most tenuously. What will they accomplish the logic of despair is a false logic. I cannot
from this place that they are seemingly born muster any convincing evidence of its falsity,
into, or reach with just a single activating but I know it nonetheless. Am I to trust that
experience? Nor, to address the skeptics feeling I am calling ‘knowing’?
among you, were these people weekend
philosophers who play with these ideas in In fact, I can construct a rational narrative –
between workweeks. They had little buy-in highly implausible though it may strike the
to the rewards and promises of the system, conventional mind – in which we can avert
little ambition in the conventional sense. civilization-destroying ecological catastrophe.
For them, the old story is finished. Even It comes from the understanding that the
if they are yet a minority among their age modern worldview, which is at the root

Ja nua r y 2018
of the ecological crisis, also generates our feeling I got from the festival is not wholly
understanding of what is possible and how to at odds with reason. Nor, however, does it
36 effect change in the world. Stepping outside constitute proof. Each of these two narratives
of it, as so many of those young people have stands in self-sufficient wholeness, a reality
done, opens up wider domains of the possible unto itself. Which, then, shall I believe?
and the real. We can see the lineaments in
everything we call holistic or alternative: There is a saying from the Bible: “By their
technologies or modes of technology that fruits ye shall know them.” Each of these
produce impossible results. beliefs bears different fruits in me; each
corresponds to a state of being. I find the near-
This will be of small comfort if you wholly term extinction narrative to be paralyzing. It
embrace the modern worldview and dismiss demotivates anything I might do to serve
everything that deviates from it. But if you healing in the world on any level. What issue
have experienced what we’ve been told is that I care about matters in the face of it?
impossible, then the impossibility of humanity
making the transition is no longer so clear. If The other narrative, which I’ll call ‘the
someone can recover from 'incurable' stage 4 evolution of consciousness that will save
pancreatic cancer, what else is possible? What the world’, confers on me an enthusiasm to
is the correlate of that on the level of politics serve that evolution in all its manifestations
or ecology? This is a question many of these and practical applications. This narrative is
young people are beginning to explore. not without its pitfalls: self-righteousness,
spiritual elitism, and escapism are among
That is one thread of my narrative of optimism, them, particularly when it is ignorant of the
tenuous though it may seem to you. I won’t go very real facts on the ground. The horror and
into the others, because my point is that the suffering on this planet extend far beyond

Hear tfulness
climate change. In fact, I believe climate
change is a symptom of a deeper illness that
will continue to generate crises even if it
turns out to be less of a threat than we think.
To bypass the planet’s hurts and perils and
There is a saying from the
to deny their accompanying grief through Bible: “By their fruits ye
spiritual bromides like, “It’s all happening for
a reason,” or “The shift in consciousness will shall know them.”
save us,” is to divert the expanded creative and Each of these beliefs bears
healing powers of the new story away from
their necessary purpose. different fruits in me;
each corresponds to
The illness seeks the medicine. The multiple
crises that we face are precisely commensurate a state of being.
with the capacities they will draw forth from
us. That is why both narratives I have voiced
above are necessary. We must apprehend
the illness, or the medicine will remain
inaccessible, stunted, an embarrassing secret and communion insinuate an unreasonable
in the cultural closet called ‘alternative’. knowledge of expanded possibilities. Without
these, the gloom-monger is missing an
Gazing into the most hopeless and horrifying important data point. Few will listen to him 37
phenomena on the planet, our own hidden because they will intuit that his despair is a
wounds and unprocessed grief surface for joy deficit disguised as objective reasoning.
clearing, and we discover that each form of Whatever he is missing, the young people
denial – the outer circumstances and the I met at Kinnection, and the event itself,
inner wounds – mirror each other. For our seemed to radiate.
optimism to be genuine as well as effective, it
must countenance what is actually so. So if you want to be effective in spreading
alarm, go to some festivals or other places
I am fond of saying that no optimism can be of your greatest joy. And if you want to be
authentic that has not visited the depths of effective in spreading joy, visit your places of
despair. But today I have realized a corollary: greatest grief.
no despair is authentic that has not fully let
in the joy. Festivals like Kinnection exercise a I am of course aware of the political critique of
powerful practical function by obviating the festivals like this one: that they are diversions
logic of despair and bestowing enthusiasm for the privileged that make our unjust and
and motivation to serve the birthing of a ecocidal world a little more tolerable. But I
more beautiful world. It is not that an internal hope I have shown that they are also the
inconsistency in the logic is revealed; it opposite: they make that world less tolerable.
simply becomes somehow less relevant, less They give us a glimpse of the world as it
dominating, and less captivating. Without, at could be, and they nourish us with the inner
first, reasonable cause for hope, we find we no resources and outer connections to serve that
longer need reasons. Experiences of play, joy world.

Ja nua r y 2018
Q&A

a future?

38

Photographe Philippe Matsas

M o n i q ue At la n and R OG E R -
POL DROIT share a very European
perspective on the need to revive hope
in the 21st century, despite the many
reasons why people have given up
hoping for a better future.

Hear tfulness
Hope is supposedly a very simple and two-sided and ambiguous: individual and
familiar concept. Yet your survey has collective, earthly and heavenly, fluctuating
shown that it is far more complex than and unchanging, etc.
it seems, as throughout the course of
history hope has often been obscured and If you imagine that it is only for good things,
belittled. Could you please tell us more bound to have a positive outcome, you would
about it ? be quite wrong: terrorists also hope for the
maximum number of casualties.
It is actually very simple. Hope is a human
strength par excellence. It is what makes us Of course, there have always been highlights
move forward, act, progress, etc., even in the when the collective hope was positive. The Age
worst of circumstances! So it is wrong to of Enlightenment and the social movements
believe that hope is at odds with action. In for emancipation in the nineteenth century are
fact, there is no action without the hope that good examples, as people believed that human
it will succeed, and yet to expect success the progress would follow. More knowledge and 39
action must have already started. accessible education, a greater number of tools
and methods, and freedom and ethics were all
Nevertheless, it remains difficult to precisely supposed to follow. Such was the great hope
define what hope is. It is at the same time a that progress represented – a continuous and
wish, a desire, and an expectation of something triumphant hope.
better, but it’s not only these things. Being
the matrix of our lives, and of our individual But as the 20th century showed, culture and
existence as well as of our collective challenges, progress do not safeguard us from barbaric
hope cannot be framed within a rigid concept. acts, science can also bring destruction, and
better tomorrows can lead to totalitarianism
Hope is fraught with ambiguity, plurality, and and terror. So we now have a tendency to shun
it is always impure, that is, it is woven from hope, and most of the time we’d rather live
conflicting feelings, illusory beliefs, magical without it.
thoughts and dreams, as well as reasoning and
probabilities. Hope is both a call-to-action
and at the same time it is based on emotional Can we possibly live without hope ?
thinking.
Of course not! Hope is a constituent of the
Our research into the history – particularly human condition. Our primary question has
in ancient Greece, in Jewish sources and in been: How is it that collective hope should
Christian thinking – shows that hope is always break down, whereas individuals go on having

Ja nua r y 2018
It is actually very simple. The current eclipse of our collective hope
is above all due to the disasters of the last
Hope is a human strength par century, to our having lost our sense of history,
excellence. It is what makes to a weakening of the awareness we have of
inheriting from the past and of needing to build
us move forward, act, a future, and to the triumph of presentism1 and
progress, etc., even in the immediacy. But there are also more profound
and ancient causes, which are to be found in
worst of circumstances! So it is our European culture.
wrong to believe that hope
We have seen through the ages that any
is at odds with action. universal feeling of hope has not been loved
by our philosophers, at least most of them.
Therefore, as far as hope is concerned, the
failure has also been in our thinking.

Starting with the ancients and the stoics


personal hope and plans for themselves and for and moving forward to our contemporary
their relatives? All the polls and surveys show philosophers, practically no one has given
that the very people who claim that they are particular and prominent attention to hope.
pessimistic about the future of their country Either they ignore it, avoid dealing with it,
40 or of humanity also claim that they are rather express a lack of confidence or reject it outright.
optimistic as far as their personal situations The rationale they use is always the same: to
are concerned. In other words, hope is indeed reject hope in order to avoid all the risks and
what the psychologist Guy Lavallée calls an discomforts due to the fear of unfulfilled hope.
‘energy matrix’, the source of our plans and They then attach value to the present only, to
actions, even though collective expectations living in the moment, in order to guard against
have currently lost momentum. all the uncertainties and expectations that
hope brings.
If we are each imbued with such a deep
sense of hope, how is it that we no longer Here are a few examples :
dream of a future that reflects our inner “Don't hope and you will be fearless,” the stoic
hopes ? philosopher Hecaton of Rhodes used to say, as
quoted by Seneca.
That is what we have tried to diagnose through Montaigne added, “Fear, desire and hope impel
what we call a ‘philosophical un-blocking’ in us towards the future; they rob us of feelings
order to rekindle it. We know that we cannot and concern for what now is, in order to have
force hope on anyone, so our challenge is to us spend time over what will be – even when
revive the process by giving it the consideration we ourselves shall be no more.”
it deserves and by better understanding its As for Spinoza, the greatest hope fighter, he
limits and mechanisms. wanted to chase away all sadness in order to
reach the wisdom that could be drawn from

1
Philosophical presentism is the view that neither the future
nor the past exist.

Hear tfulness
41

philosophical joy. He concluded by saying, “In how is it possible in a world where we have
proportion as we endeavor to live according to lost all our illusions ?
the guidance of reason, shall we strive as much
as possible to depend less on hope.” It is possible, provided we stop confusing hope
and illusion. Losing our illusions does not mean
We could also quote Schopenhauer, Heidegger, losing hope. On the contrary, hope is a means to
Camus, Comte-Sponville and many others. practice gaining insight. Our gross desires and
In spite of their different philosophies, they our scattered aspirations need to be carefully
all agreed that hope is a harmful illusion, and refined. They must be sifted, channeled, rid of
we must rid ourselves of it. The fear of being their superfluities and fantasies, and adjusted to
disappointed made them throw the baby out reality. If that is wanting, hope remains a mere
with the bathwater, because hope implies mechanical repetition of the same formulas and
taking a risk! therefore it is totally useless. It is worth working
on hope, and worth tempering it.
You said, “Hope should be the main
instrument for building a new future.” But

Ja nua r y 2018
42

What can we hope for nowadays ? essentially focused on the individual’s thought
at the moment of death, we need to think
No period in history, even the darkest, has beyond ourselves, about all living creatures,
ever seen hope disappear completely. Its flame and about what we have to transmit to future
lingers, even when everything seems to want to generations. As long as we remain focused on
blow it out. That is why, at the heart of the great the individual alone and facing death, the world
tragedies of the 20th century, Ernst Bloch and and time will appear absurd. But if we accept
Hans Jonas embraced the idea of a world that the idea of human beings carrying on, then we
constantly needs constructing; a world where place ourselves in an unfinished project, one
the central dimension of life dwells in the that is always open and under development.
future. Here comes the most important lesson
to remember: hope requires thinking beyond So hope can be shared, right ?
oneself.
The philosopher Catherine Chalier pointed
So we appeal for a total inversion of the western out that “Hope is always to be shared.” Sharing
philosophical software. Instead of being it is the essential dimension, as hope can never

Hear tfulness
be lived by one person between a virtual and a real are actually missing and
alone. As Erri de Luca world, since confusing them they must be created and
wrote in his book, Alzaïa, only leads to unrealistic restored so that hope has a
the Hebrew word tiqva expectations. foundation, the ground on
simultaneously means hope, which to stand.
a rope and a climbing team. We do not hold the keys
It is the rope that binds to the future. It is up to And for you personally,
prisoners to each other, the youth to forge these what gives you hope ?
but it also keeps human keys, provided that we, the
beings together and gives adults, are fully aware that The fact that the
them some freedom, just as the world doesn’t end with unexpected does exist and
alpinists secure each other. us, and that transmitting that it endures. Let the
Hope is never a solo race. to future generations will story remain unfinished.
It binds us and we pull reopen the horizon and Remember that the
together when we share that hope. inscription above Dante’s
hope. Gate of Hell reads,
As a matter of fact, there “Abandon all hope, ye who
What would you like to say can only be hope if and enter here.” What defines
about hope to the youth of when we accept that the hell is that it is a confined
today ? world does not end with space, with no possible
us, and that we need to openings or dreams.
We have no ready answer build it over and over Conversely, in our world, 43
and no unfailing know- again, all together. Hope is human dignity consists
how. The issue is for us to what makes us act, due to in constantly maintaining
understand, and then to the shared conviction that aspirations for a better
help them understand. We the game is still ongoing, world. Ernst Bloch, in his
must tell the youth about that the world is not yet book The Hope Principle,
the past, about the depth complete, and that the story showed that he well
of our history and about continues. understood that our being
those who defended our aware of the future was an
civil liberties all through Yet if we want to advance, engine for all human beings.
the course of history. We we do still need the story. He stated that, “So far, hope
must explain to them that Hope must be formulated, has remained as unexplored
immediate gratification and it must be told, put in as Antarctica.” We do think
cannot be the only words, myths and stories. it’s high time for hope to be
prevailing value, and that We must talk about it, explored.
the super heroes in Star transmit it, and live it. It
Wars and the Avengers also requires imagination
who fight off evil fail to and vision. Such tales
To explore these ideas further,
reflect the full picture of read their book, L'espoir
the world. Finally, we must a-t-il un avenir?, published by
relentlessly draw the line Flammarion in 2016.

Ja nua r y 2018
It is not the time or place
but the attitude of the couple that matters.
At the moment of conception,
based on the vibratory level of those two,
the soul with that corresponding vibratory
level will descend into the womb
that has the specific vibratory level.
It matches.

Kamlesh Patel
Conscious
Parenting

M ON I C K A S I NGH is full of life !


In this interview, she shares some of the ways that she helps couples with conscious
conception, pregnancy, birthing and parenting.

I just sat, thinking, “Let it be today, whatever


You are passionate about your is meant to happen.”
work ! How did you get into this field,
which is so tied to human evolution? It was a good one and a half hours of waiting,
There is always a story that triggers and sitting with my eyes closed. When I opened
motivates us to our path. In 2007, I them I saw my husband walking into the park.
experienced something very profound, when The doctors had said that he would not be
my husband contracted a viral infection. He is able to walk beyond 200 meters, but he had
a pediatrician and had picked it up from one actually walked down three flights of stairs,
of his patients. When children are infected then 900 meters to the entrance of the park,
by this virus, it is usually okay, but when it is and he came walking all the way to where I 47
an adult it can be fatal. So he had developed was and sat there.
fluid retention in his entire body, especially
in the pericardium, the wall of the heart, and Then we started coming back again. Within
he almost left us. He was in bed for around a month and a half, his entire disease had
eight months, when he was about to be taken vanished, all the fluid in all the layers of his
for surgery to remove the pericardium. His body had gone, his heart was beating normally,
life would have been that of a vegetable. Both he had shed fifteen to twenty kilos of weight,
of us had very vivid colorful dreams for the and was full of vigor.
future, and this was not in sync with what we The doctors said, “It’s a miracle !”
thought our life would be. It was not actually a miracle. We had tapped
into the power of the subconscious mind
So we were struggling, and life was chaotic. and reprogrammed it. We shifted our belief
One day, in the autumn of 2007, something system and we came back to life. So then I
happened to me. At the time my husband was understood that this is the way of life. At that
not allowed to walk more than 150 meters, in time I had no knowledge of the subconscious
case he became breathless. I went to a park, mind. I was only involved with my children
which was around 900 meters from our home, and family.
and sat there praying.
Then I called him and said, “ You come to this We had been living in Delhi, where my
park and take me home, otherwise I am not husband was running a multi-specialty
coming home. And please come alone.” hospital. But after all this we shifted our base

Ja nua r y 2018
So in the Cosmic Conception
program, we help parents
to be conscious of their
thoughts and emotions. They
know they are invoking
a soul who is going to begin
a journey on Earth.

are thinking is already affecting the child’s


subconscious mind. At the time a child
is delivered, more than 70% of his or her
subconscious mind is already blueprinted,
and these are the codes on which his or her
future lies.

So this has been my journey, and how I was


inspired. Then I did research on my patients
and now we are getting wonderful results in
our hospital.
to a rural area near Dehra Dun, an area
with no medical facilities, where we set
up our hospital and started working with Tell us about the work you do
conviction and faith. It is a beautiful area in with families.
the foothills of the Himalayas.
Our entire program is called ‘Awakening
There this landed  ! I used to have vivid in Womb’, and we start right from the very
dreams and visions, and I was guided to beginning. So our work supports :
understand that life does not start after • Consciously conceiving the baby.
the birth  ; it doesn’t even start during • Consciously carrying and nurturing the
those nine months of pregnancy, or at the baby.
time of conception. Instead, our life starts • Consciously delivering the baby.
when our parents think about us. So when • Consciously raising the newborn baby.
parents think about becoming parents, the
child’s journey begins. And whatever they

Hear tfulness
We have also started a program called
‘Cosmic Conception’ where our would- Wonderful ! What about during
be parents experience a rise in vibrations pregnancy  ? How do you support
through different modalities to help attract parents so they can nurture their
a higher vibrational soul into their lives. babies in the best possible way ?
They understand that they are receiving a
gift in this soul, this baby. We have two ways. The first is with people
who have conceived consciously, as they have
already started from a particular level. But
How do you work with parents most of the couples coming to our hospital
to bring about conscious conception? do not know about Cosmic Conception,
so with this second group we work on the
In the realm of energy, like attracts like, so principle that ‘your unborn child is your
you will often hear parents saying, “This spiritual guru’. In other words, whenever
child is just like me.” Why do they say that ? a couple has conceived a baby, that soul is
The energy with which they conceive a there in their life as a guiding force.
child, the emotions that they hold at that Essentially, pregnancy is a time of great
particular moment, are totally transferred to transformation, and a great leap in the
the baby. So the baby will initiate his or her journey of evolution of the souls who are
journey with that coloring, that intention, parents. Pregnancy accelerates the journey. 49
that energy. So all the programs, patterns and social
conditionings rise to the surface, and that is
So in the Cosmic Conception program, why we say that the mother has a turbulent
we help parents to be conscious of their phase of ups and downs of emotions, because
thoughts and emotions. They know they things pop up from the subconscious mind.
are invoking a soul who is going to begin
a journey on Earth. They have to be aware So we work with pregnant women in classes,
of what they are starting with. We help identifying what is manifesting in their lives
them address and embrace any non-serving right now. We help them to accept what
attitudes they may have, like their fears, emotions are surfacing, rise above them,
their anger. They don’t have to overcome and move with the vibration. It is all about
anger or fear. It is better to accept it and acceptance. They do it with a lot of love and
embrace it and be good with it to the point consciousness. Of course the programs are
that it no longer matters and they feel well structured – we give them dos and don’ts,
about it. Their hearts become hopeful with some practices, meditation, etc. – both face-
compassion and love, so everything finds its to-face in our hospital and online. There is a
own position, and this is when conception full nine months program that they follow.
happens. The child will also begin the The mothers help themselves by doing the
journey with compassion and love. We have practices, and become very conscious of
done our part. their pregnancy.

Ja nua r y 2018
Are the fathers involved as well ? Every single
The fathers are very involved, because the gene can express itself
father is impacting the mother, who is in more than 20,000 different
impacting the baby. I always say that a family
with a strong father is a thriving family. The ways depending upon
father has a huge role, because the mother’s the environment.
emotions and mental strength are somehow
directly connected with those of her husband.
The father’s support is very important in this
entire program.

I am sure you are aware of the the entire blueprint is happening right there
Epigenetic studies on this, so can we say inside the womb.
that you are working to help create the
environment so that the physiology of
the mother is most conducive? It is amazing ! Let’s move on now.
50 How do you work with mothers through
It is all about that. Epigenetics is mainstream the birthing process?
now. Research has shown that every single gene
can express itself in more than 20,000 different This is my favorite part ! During the birthing
ways depending upon the environment, so it process, I call these mothers divine goddesses.
is all about creating the environment for the They are the chosen ones, as they are bringing
baby to grow. about life, and the way they bring life into
the world is extremely important. When we
This baby starts with two cells, and becomes as women can turn that pain into pleasure is
a trillion-celled body, and this construction when we are able to do everything.
is happening inside the mother’s womb. This
is not just the construction of the child ; it is As doctors, I think we have a great role to play.
also the awakening of the mother. That is why First of all, there is a lot of fear surrounding
we call the program ‘Awakening in Womb’. a delivery. The people attending are not sure
Both mother and child are awakening. The how it is going to happen, if it going to be a
construction material is important : food is normal delivery, a forceps delivery, a Caesarian
very important, but not just food. The water section, etc. The first thing that we as doctors
a mother drinks, the air she is breathing, the can do is to erase that fear around the birthing
thoughts she is having, and her energy levels are process by telling mothers that this is the most
all accumulating and constructing the child’s natural process to happen in nature, that she
body. I am not just talking about the physical will be guided, and that her entire body is
body – all the bodies. So the construction of working and everything is automated. Did she

Hear tfulness
conceive by asking a sperm and an egg to get Then the baby has a better chance to come out
together and make a body ? No, it just happened. naturally, because he or she is secure. This is it.
Similarly, giving birth is an automatic process. 51
She simply has to remove the thinking brain
and everything happens on its own. Lovely ! After the birth, there is
When there is fear, then a mother may more another level of transition in family life
easily attract a lot of unpleasant things and for both parents. So please can you tell
difficulties during the birth. So in our hospital us about conscious parenting  ? What
we try to ease the mothers completely, removing support do you offer new parents ?
any fears around the birth, by reminding them
of that deep faith that everything has been taken Conscious parenting starts with the birth.
care of. The moment the baby is out, he or she is put
directly to the mother’s heart, as the sound of
Then there is a structure that we follow, using her heartbeat is familiar. This reduces any fear
music, positive affirmations and meditation. This the baby may have in this new environment,
way, during the birthing process, the mother is because he or she is received with love into the
relaxed and able to communicate with the baby. world and feels secure. After that, we hand the
That is so important, because it is the baby who baby over to the father, who sits cuddling and
is making his or her way through that birthing caressing his newborn.
canal. So imagine if she is able to communicate
with the baby, reassuring him or her that “This In contrast, if a baby is born in a very mechanical
is a beautiful world, a world of peace and manner and then put in a nursery, separated
compassion. I welcome you here, my child, with from the parents, which is unavoidable if it is
all my heart. Please come, I am waiting for you.” a traumatic birth, imagine the amount of fear

Ja nua r y 2018
the baby has. They will experience all the alien We have a website called Miracle Medical
sounds, the alien light, and many strange voices. Mission – www.miraclemedicalmission.com,
They become fearful. So the first impression, the we do online workshops and then we have the
first imprint after delivery is that of fear. Today, handholding program for the nine months of
so many babies experience such an imprint in pregnancy, which we also do online.
hospitals around the world, and, as a result, they
constantly live with fear even as adults, because
it is the first impression they have of the world Would you also be willing to train
outside. medical personnel from other parts of the
world if they could come to your hospital?
So what happens to the child in the first few
hours after the birth is very, very important. Yes, definitely, because this is the way of life
That is the base, the foundation. When the ahead. It has to be a train the trainer approach.
first impression is that of love, that becomes We all have to come together and work as one
the foundation from where life goes on. Such force. We also have a Facebook group and we
children are generally compassionate, loving and are trying to reach out to as many people as
settled children. They are not anxious babies, possible.
they cry less and they demand less, because they
are secure. Babies often cry and demand a lot
52 when there is some insecurity, some fear, which Can you tell us about your two
parents don’t always understand and the baby books?
can’t explain. By the time the child is older and
can express how they feel, they have already My first book was co-authored and is called
accepted this fear as a normal way of life. This is Miracle Mission, in which I have written about
how we are as individuals. my own journey. My second book is called
Awakening in Womb, in which I have written all
As conscious parents, we can help our children be about conscious conception, pregnancy, birthing
what they are supposed to be by understanding and parenting.
that they are not ‘ours’, but instead they are
other individuals coming through us. Whatever I also discuss infertility issues, and especially
thoughts, belief systems and conditioning we what can be done before resorting to IVF
may have do not need to be transferred to our and surrogacy. We have an ‘Accepting Your
babies. They do not deserve that. They will do Fertility’ program, so that couples can learn to
better with neutrality so that they can build accept their own fertility. It is a beautiful 45
their own belief systems. days to 2 months program, and again it is a
very structured program. It is working because
people are having their babies !
A lot of people reading this will
want more information. Not everyone INTERVIEW BY ELIZABETH DENLEY
can travel to Uttarakhand, so how are you To contact Monicka, you can write to
reaching out to others ? dr.monickasingh@gmail.com

Hear tfulness
Heartfulness Yoga
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& Post Graduate Diploma in
Advanced Yoga

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53
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Ja nua r y 2018
BE

inspired
Today the evolution
theory of the ancient
Yogis will be better
understood in the
light of modern
research.
Swami Vivekananda
Science of spirituality

What if someone told you there was a simple set of practices that could help you manage every
aspect of your daily life, and at the same time take you to a level of human potential beyond your
wildest imagination? Would you be interested? Most people would at least be curious.

That is in fact an accurate explanation of the practices of Yoga, but most people don’t realize it.
Yoga includes a holistic set of practices for overall self-development and the well-being of the
body, mind and soul. A few thousand years back, the great sage Patanjali compiled the current
yogic practices of that time into a simple framework consisting of eight parts or limbs, and that
framework is still used today. It is known as Ashtanga Yoga.

But the practices of Yoga have evolved since Patanjali was alive, in response to the needs of the
time and especially during the last 150 years. So in this series DAAJI explores each limb of Yoga
in the light of the modern day yogic practices of Heartfulness. He shows us how to integrate inner
spiritual practices with living in the world and refining our personality, so as to create that true
state of Yoga – skill in action and integration of the spiritual and worldly as aspects of life.

PRANAYAMA PRATYAHARA
Breath Inner Withdrawal
56 Regulation

DHARANA
Mental Focus

ASANA
Posture

Ashtanga
yoga DHYANA
Meditation

NIYAMA
Regularity
Observation

SAMADHI
Original Condition
(Balance)
YAMA
Good conduct

Hear tfulness
YAMA
the five vows of the seeker
Yama is the first of Patanjali’s eight limbs of yogic practice. DAAJI expounds
on this very first rung of Ashtanga Yoga, and explores its importance in
self-development and the path of enlightenment.

W
hy does behavior matter so much Ultimately, there is no inside and outside but
in the spiritual field? And does it one fluid state of being. So if we are going to
matter only in the spiritual field? embark on a spiritual journey, our character
Human beings have always valued nobility of must go with us.
character, kindness, generosity and humility.
We have also always venerated the people In today’s world, this aspect of Yoga is not
throughout history who embody those values well-understood by Hatha Yoga practitioners
57
or principles. and meditators alike, who are often happy just
to do their practices. Why? Maybe because it
When you remember the meaning of the word means looking in the psychological mirror in
‘Yoga’ it becomes clearer. Yoga means union, order to change. Spirituality is not a path for
integration, oneness, including the integration the faint hearted. Swami Vivekananda once
of our inner and outer states of being. We said, “I need lions not sheep.” Have you ever
cannot be saintly on the inside and also greedy, wondered why such a great being said this? It
arrogant or angry in behavior – that would be is because every single moment we must work
a lack of integrity. That lack of integration is on ourselves to refine our lifestyle if we wish
not natural and leads to personality disorders; our consciousness to blossom.
it is the opposite of holistic.
While meditation with Yogic Transmission
transforms us swiftly from the inside, melting
away obstacles to progress, stripping away
our limitations at the very root, life demands
something more of us. Our inner world may be
expanding and evolving, but if our personality
and lifestyle lag behind then we will remain
spinning, like those little mice in their running
wheels. We will not be able to move forward
on the journey.

Ja nua r y 2018
58 So what sort of a lifestyle is demanded of a seeker death being intertwined with the refinement
of the light? When Patanjali formulated his of lifestyle? One answer lies in the right
Ashtanga Yoga some thousands of years ago, he understanding of life itself. Physical life begins
naturally included the refinement of personality with conception and ends with the withdrawal
and lifestyle as part of yogic practice, and he did of the soul. This does not mean suicide. The real
so in the two limbs known as Yama and Niyama. secret is to ‘die’ while still alive, transcending
Here we will explore those fundamental qualities ‘I’-ness to become universal. Meditation is also
espoused by Patanjali in this first limb, Yama. I the process of consciously transcending the
like to describe them as the five oaths of a seeker. individual self, so that we can merge with the
universal consciousness.
The word ‘Yama’ has different meanings. In Another way of saying it is: live as if you are
Sanskrit, it means ‘regulation’ or ‘self-discipline’. going to die the next moment. This constant
Ram Chandra of Fatehgarh wrote,1 “Giving up reminder of Yama as death may on the surface
untrue feelings and untrue thought is Yama. sound morbid, but there is tremendous wisdom
Yama means to give up. Yama is the giving up in this idea, which is to transcend the ‘I’-ness of
of unwanted things from the heart.” So Yama is the ego with love. The ego can be a very restrictive
the removal of everything that is unnecessary for force – it doesn’t let life blossom – but when this
our spiritual journey. transcendence happens the ego becomes our ally
and evolutionary in its purpose. The willpower
In Hindu mythology, the God of Death is also of the ego moves from being self-centered in
called Yama. How to reconcile this idea of individual consciousness to being in tune with
universal consciousness.
1
Complete Works of Ram Chandra of Fatehgarh, Vol.
2, 2013, Shri Ram Chandra Mission, India

Hear tfulness
Where we go wrong is in thinking that this With meditation on the heart, the
is all about physical death. Here death is not mind deepens from thinking to feeling,
of the physical body, but of our self-created to simply being, and then finally to
accumulated identity in the subtle body – unbecoming or unknowing, towards
the layers of our persona. Transcendence nothingness. It refines towards the
means such refinement of the subtle body subtlest state possible.
that it becomes pure and expansive, without
individual heaviness. The intellect deepens to intelligence to
There are basically two aspects to this intuition to wisdom and also finally to a
refinement. The first is the removal of all higher state beyond wisdom, known as
the heaviness from the subtle body – the unknowing or higher ignorance – again
impressions we have accumulated from our it zeroes out. Guidance henceforth will
own past – so that it becomes so light that descend from beyond.
consciousness can soar higher and higher.
These impressions are called samskaras in The ego moves from a selfish focus
Yoga. This process leads to the death of our on ‘I’, gradually refines to selflessness
own individual network of complexities – and generosity of heart, then absolute
beliefs, emotions, fears, habits and desires. humility and acceptance, and finally
Many people try to let go of the past through only the finest state of identity remains.
psychoanalysis and personal therapy from 59
the mental level, whereas in Heartfulness the As these three subtle bodies are refined,
practice of Yogic Cleaning removes the very consciousness is untethered and is able
root of the problem, the samskaras, by directly to expand into its infinite state, merging
cleaning the subtle bodies. This process is so with the universal consciousness.
effective that the impressions from one lifetime
can be removed in one meditation session with If this could be achieved only through spiritual
a trainer. practice, everyone would reach the destination
in no time at all. But does the ego easily move
But if we don’t also then work on removing the from selfishness to generosity of heart? Not
behaviors that are the outer manifestation of without a fight! Do we easily trust the wisdom
those impressions, we end up re-creating the of our hearts, happily residing in a state of
same heaviness again. Like the mice on the unknowing, dependent totally on something
wheel, we go round and round, removing, re- higher? That would mean ignoring the pros
creating, removing, re-creating. It is a never- and cons of the rational mind that are dictated
ending cycle unless we make behavioral and by our own principles and constructs. It takes
lifestyle changes. time to let go of all this and let consciousness
soar into universality. It is a process that
The second aspect is the further refinement of requires Yama and Niyama side by side with
the four main functions of the subtle body – practice.
consciousness, the thinking mind, the intellect
and the ego:

Ja nua r y 2018
Yet with this transcendence we experience real are then naturally supported by the newly
aliveness for the first time. What is aliveness? cultivated balanced tendencies of the mind.
It means to live life with the heart; a life
that is now connected to the eternal and the This sequence is more practical than trying
immortal; a life where there is neither bliss nor to refine character from the outer perspective
sorrow, neither pleasure nor pain. With such a of changing the persona, because behavioral
transformation comes the wisdom to conduct change is most possible in someone with
life with self-discipline or Yama. a well-developed manomaya kosha or mind
That is why in Heartfulness we start with the sheath. It is certainly not possible for anyone
last three limbs of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga who still has a heart full of the samskaras of
– dharana and dhyana, culminating in samadhi desire, worry, anger, fear or guilt. It cannot be
– so that we develop the inner capacity and imposed artificially from the outside and be
aliveness to then develop self-discipline and real.
nobility. Inner transformation is the catalyst
for bringing outer change. The other five limbs This state that Yama brings of self-discipline
is beautifully described in the yogic literature

Asteya
Honesty

Satya Brahmacharya
Be Truthful Moderation of Senses

YAMA

Ahimsa Aparigraha
Non-violence Attitude of non-
possessiveness

Hear tfulness
as being in this world but not of this world,
symbolized by the lotus that lives in the mud
but is not polluted by it, instead radiating These f ive qualities form
purity and beauty. So these five vows of a our spiritual foundation. In
seeker are for living life bravely and not
straying away from a noble life. fact, no spirituality is possible
without them. Becoming
Let’s explore them in more detail.
The purpose of embracing truthfulness, non- or imbibing these qualities
possessiveness, moderation, honesty and non- prepares us for better
violence is to allow peace to prevail within.
Peace is always there. It is our nature. It is and nobler experiences.
only when we embrace lies, dishonesty, cruelty,
violence and selfishness to possess things that
we lose peace. Moreover, if the peace becomes possessions and ultimately ourselves. Is this
a means to achieve something else, then not compassion? It is sad that under the spell
that very act will become a hindrance to our of hatred, people destroy each other.
evolution.
Be truthful: Satya
Non-violence: Ahimsa
The second Yama is to be true to yourself. We 61
The first Yama begins with love. The all know the famous statement by William
fundamental divine law that governs life is Shakespeare: “This above all: to thine own self
“Love all”. If the idea of hurting anyone or be true.”
anything remains in the heart, we fail at the
first step itself. People who intend to hurt Be genuine, original and authentic. Say what
others can easily become demons when they you mean and mean what you say. No hidden
develop capacity, so it is important to love agendas. No masks. No hiding faults and no
selflessly, unconditionally and joyfully. This is camouflages. There is childlike innocence,
the essence of ahimsa. But I feel that there is purity and simplicity in truthfulness. Being
something more to ahimsa. Practiced ahimsa truthful, while at the same time ensuring that
may not permit you to hurt, which is fine, but the truth never hurts the heart of another
there is a greater need to be compassionate, person, is only possible if ahimsa becomes a
taking action so that the other is not only part of us.
not hurt, but out of compassion the other is
comforted. When we do not follow the heart, we will
sometimes follow wrong guidance. We suffer
It is a simple matter to understand that liking from an untruthful heart and the coercions
someone ultimately culminates in love. When that result from it. This leads to a lack of
we love all, where is the question of being authenticity. Then our inner environment is
violent or hurting others? When we love, messed up and wrong habits develop. Hence,
we are ready to sacrifice our comforts, our

Ja nua r y 2018
always be truthful and nurture the purity means to dwell, so ‘one who dwells in Brahm’,
within. is aptly called a brahmacharya. To pretend to be
a brahmacharya by imposing rules from outside
When we do hurt others, even unintentionally, is like putting the cart before the horse; it is
guilt often develops, and the removal of guilt artificial. We achieve moderation as a result
is an important aspect of Yama. It cannot be of purifying the inner condition through the
done through meditation or cleaning, but can Heartfulness Way and bringing a state of
be done through a genuine prayerful state of balance and moderation. When we dwell in
repentance and letting go at bedtime. This is that state, all our actions and thoughts naturally
one important aspect of being truthful – to have the quality of Brahman.
accept our own failings with humility and Such a state of moderation is achieved through
genuinely offer them in a prayerful state. It the practice of regular meditation on point
purifies our system of guilty feelings, which are A and cleaning of point B in Heartfulness
the hardest impressions to remove. practice. For such a person, procreation is a
natural and sacred act. Procreation is beautiful,
Honesty (not stealing): Asteya as long as our desires do not become a slave to
it.
When we have love in the heart and tread the
path of truth, honesty then radiates in our Attitude of non-possessiveness
existence. Our existence in thought, word and towards worldly things: Aparigraha
62 deed will be a manifestation of honesty. Then our
very presence will give an impetus to the moral The fifth Yama is non-possessiveness. It is the
compass of everyone around us. Honesty is the culmination of the other four: love, truthfulness,
result of a life led with non-violence (ahimsa) honesty and moderation. We start to exist as if
and nurtured by truth (satya). In particular, we we are in the world but not of the world, like
have no interest in coveting or stealing anything a lotus. It simply means that even if you have
that belongs to anyone else. At least, minimally, something in you, you are not possessed by it
we should not take from others or hurt them. If or affected by either its presence or its absence.
we could be compassionate and do much more Imagine the arrogance and pride of a sannyasi
than just not taking and hurting, maybe others who seems to have renounced all desires and
would feel more at ease and comforted. Is it possessions but is proud of his renunciation!
enough that we do not snatch away food from He may have renounced, but he possesses a lot
the hungry? Surely we can be compassionate of pride and arrogance. He is now possessed!
enough to ensure that the hungry receive what This ego will be fatal. Such an ego will be
they need. unproductive and will turn out to be invalid
currency in the Higher dimension.
Moderation of the senses:
Brahmacharya Imagine the emotional gap created by the two
different ideas of belonging versus possessing.
Brahmacharya has been narrowly understood When one has the sense of belonging, there is
to mean celibacy, whereas it really means a pride. When there is a sense of being possessed,
state of moderation across all our faculties. The there is a tremendous gap! Let us visit the daily
term is composed of Brahm + charya. ‘Charya’

Hear tfulness
scenario where our mother makes meals for us in preparing our heart for one purpose only:
and serves us with so much love. Now think the purification of consciousness. These five
of the other scenario, where our mother has qualities form our spiritual foundation. In
gone somewhere and we may have to dine out fact, no spirituality is possible without them,
at some friend’s place. We become so grateful and they prepare us for better and nobler
to our friend’s mother. Take another scenario: experiences. Only when we want nothing
it is raining and you find shelter under the from anybody, including God, do the doors
canopy of someone’s roof. You are so grateful open.
to the house owner. Do we express such
gratitude towards our mother or our home? It is very much like a bank. When you are in
Mostly no. Why? Is it because we take them dire need of money, banks generally will not
for granted, as we have the sense that they help you, whereas when you have absolutely
are ours. Possessiveness somehow creates a no need of money the bank will solicit
distance. Belongingness brings us closer. your business. Likewise, when God finds a
contented soul He gives more. Heavenly gifts
We naturally develop an awareness of our descend on those who renounce power itself.
duties, not in an enforced way but because If we ask for it, then it is denied. Nature is
we put others first as the result of an inner similar: powers descend automatically on one
generosity of heart. The natural etiquette of who says, “I do not need it.”
caring and putting others first emerges in our
behavior, as our thoughts and actions are no If you feel daunted by the call of these five 63
longer based on personal desires. We are no vows, I leave you with the lines of the poet
longer pulled by likes and dislikes for people, H.W. Longfellow, who said,
places or things. We simply live our life with
devotion, developing an unattached state
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
naturally and spontaneously. It is not that we
are detached but that we love everyone and Is our destined end or way;
everything without discrimination, universally. But to act, that each to-morrow
In Heartfulness practice, meditation on point
A helps develop this virtue. Find us farther than to-day.

These five qualities depend on love. A loving,


cheerful and contented heart creates the
environment for the blossoming of life itself,
without any force or pretense. A spiritual
seeker who fulfills the five attributes of Yama
will not be burdened by egoism. Be it exhibiting
miracles or showing off possessions, he or she
will not be self-centered, covetous or greedy.

And when do we become so interested in


these five qualities that it is a joy to pursue
them? When we realize their essential role

Ja nua r y 2018
A Terrible Longing

RAMA DEVAGUPTA interviewed PARTHASARATHI


RAJAGOPALACHARI on a bright, sunny afternoon in Fremont, California,
about the inner search for enlightenment.

64

What impulse moves us to search? burning in your heart, you will eventually
What influences our search? break out of it – like the chick breaking out
of the shell.
The impulse is a terrible longing in the
heart which says, “I must know the truth” Are there different ways of conducting
– truth in terms of spiritual values. If your a spiritual search ?
material circumstances are too good, too
comfortable, too glamorous, they take At the beginning, you are guided more by
you away from your search. When you are the strength of your inner longing. But that
overprotected, you lose sight of the search. longing may not be intense enough. The
However, if your interest in the search is confusion between what you are seeking

Hear tfulness
Inner search

and what you find can lead you astray unless enormous number of them do make it, so, it
the inner search is so powerful that it can is possible.
say, “Not this! Not this!” You may become
momentarily trapped into situations which Now, birds have the power of ‘instinct’ to
seem to fulfill your search – like drugs, guide them. At the human level, we have
alcohol, even sex. If that fulfills you and the instrument of the intellect, but unless
you stop there, it means that your seeking we cultivate wisdom, intellect doesn’t take us
was not intense enough, nor was your goal anywhere except in the pursuit of material
defined. You may stop with sensory or goals – scientific, artistic, commercial,
social fulfillment at a particular level, but economic – but not spiritual.
the longing will lie dormant and something
may spark it off again.
Is it necessary to have a teacher?
When the search is a real search, the flight
toward the goal becomes very direct, what Yes. A teacher is one who shows the way.
we call the Shuka path. Shuka is the Sanskrit
name for the parrot, which flies straight like
an arrow – no meandering here and there. What is the place of practice and
The Shuka path depends on your strength technique?
of purpose, your ability to reject temporary 65
goals, to withstand the temptation to Everything is a practice if it is used in the
experiment with temporary goals, thinking, right way. Even a man who becomes a
“Suppose this is it!” In the true seeker’s path, drinker, thinking that it will fulfill his dream
there isn’t any “suppose this is it!” There may of Nirvana, can benefit from it. If he is able
be a pause for a day or two but then you to get out of it quickly, it will have had its
move on, whereas others get lost in a jungle place, and it will no longer attract him. If he
of possibilities for years. is satisfied and says, “This is it,” however, he
is lost. Your inner fire must tell you what it
is and what it is not.
Does the search have a direct relation to
the level of attainment of the seeker?
What is the role of spiritual literature and
No, no, it only relates to the strength of sacred texts?
purpose. The moment you are satisfied with
a temporary goal, say, “Stop.” For example, Spiritual literature gives you intellectual
consider the migration of birds. A truly satisfaction, and it is easy to be satisfied
migrating bird flies thousands of miles, intellectually. You may read about
often from one continent to another. Many something and feel you know what it is, but
are lost in the ocean, caught in a storm, spiritual values have to be felt, not known
not able to fly, and fall into the sea. But an about. Knowledge of that kind has no place
in spiritual life. Many people are easily

Ja nua r y 2018
satisfied – they read a lot of itself will select the true states. In the vision, I
literature and say, “I know seeker from the false. am looking at a packet
all about Nirvana. I have Those who are there for of seeds in a shop, trying
read about 68 different fun drop off. Those who to pick out the good
varieties of Nirvana in are true remain. They seeds for planting. Then,
Buddhism, Hinduism, may drop off at various something tells me, “How
Taoism, and Sufism.” The stages, depending on do you know that the seed
question is: Have they their inner fire and how that looks good is going
ever felt anything? far it will take them. to germinate and the seed
that you are throwing
Is it necessary to be part “Seek and you shall find,” away will not?”
of a spiritual school? doesn’t mean, “Seek
and it shall be found So we don’t know the
What is a school? It is immediately.” When you inner life potential that
something that offers you find it and where you is in the seed: apparently
an education. We have find it depends on the weak, it may be strong on
the school called ‘life’, integrity of your search, the inside; the other one
and what you learn in life and the power behind is apparently strong, but
depends on what you are that search. You may weak on the inside. The
seeking. So we come back discover it just where Guide lets his students
to the seeker: you look you are, or you may go evolve and helps them
66 for mundane satisfaction, around the universe and according to his own
you will find it; you want come back to the place ability to do so, at the
sensory pleasure, you where you started and right time. But the Guide
can find it; you want to find it just there. That is can never judge. He must
become a millionaire, why the spiritual search not judge.
you can become one. Life always begins and ends
offers everything. within your self. Does the seeker change
and evolve in the search?
How does a teacher So a genuine teacher
decide if a seeker is would accept Naturally. If you put
genuine or not? everybody? your hand in the fire,
will it not get roasted? A
The teacher must assume He has to! Because he spiritual seeker is said to
that everybody who doesn’t know! I had a be something like a metal,
comes to him or her is vision once, between which is put into the fire
a genuine seeker. Time the waking and sleeping to be melted and purified

The spiritual practice of Heartfulness says that


you must fly with two wings, like the seagull – the
wing of spirituality and the wing of materiality.

Hear tfulness
so that all the dross is burnt away. Like the in one life. My Guide once told me that I
purification of gold. had been associated with him in an earlier 67
life.
Must one renounce the world to become
a seeker? The teacher’s task is to continue to teach
and help others evolve. He may come
The spiritual practice of Heartfulness says life after life, highly achieved, but with
that you must fly with two wings, like the a duty to come back to teach us, whereas
seagull – the wing of spirituality and the the seeker comes only to seek and to
wing of materiality. There is no question of find. In a sense the teacher’s search is to
renouncing anything except obstructions to find seekers – having finished his search
achieving the goal. himself and found what he sought.

When did you become aware that you Is finding the teacher the beginning of our
were a seeker? journey or is it the end of our quest?

I don’t think I was ever a conscious seeker. If a bird lays an egg, it has given the
Perhaps it began in a past life. I never possibility of a new life. But it all depends
looked for a teacher; I found him. There on the bird within the egg – whether it is
must have been some inner preparation, able to break out of the shell. That final
but it seems that I must have wasted several purpose has to come from the chick in the
lives searching for what I could have found egg, pecking it from inside and breaking the
shell to come out.

Ja nua r y 2018
So there is an element of am and where I am, only my to love and do not seek
fulfillment when you find Guide knows.” This is going love for yourself. Things
your Guide; it is a big part back to that Heisenberg break down when you want
of your journey. But what principle in physics, “If you everything for yourself and
is left? My Guide once know its location, you won’t you are not concerned for
told a very senior advanced know its velocity. If you others – whether it is an
disciple, “Now your journey know its velocity then you individual, or a country, or
is very short.” Then he won’t know its location.” the whole world. “I want
laughingly said, “It may This principle applies to be powerful.” “I want
be very long too.” Another much more profoundly to be rich.” “I want to be
disciple who was present and truthfully to spiritual wealthy”. Where there is ‘I’
with him became puzzled. matters. there is always destruction.
“How can short become
long?” he asked. My Guide We are so used to Never be diverted away
replied, “One percent of assessing our progress at from your course by the
infinity is still infinity, and school or at work. enticements of life, whether
if you stumble there, you they are material, mental, or
can go back all the way There it is assessable. But even apparently spiritual. The
– to the point where you here we cannot. When you so-called spiritual world is full
started.” fly, you need an altimeter to of enticements. All has to be
68 tell the height. If you are out renounced because spirituality
What pitfalls might a in space, you need ground is, ultimately, becoming
seeker face? control because there is no nothing, where ‘nothingness’
barometric pressure to tell is what matters.
Everything is a pitfall you the altitude. You are
for the unwary and the in a vacuum. So you rely
faithless. And nothing is a on another source. Ground
pitfall for the courageous control tracks you, and your
seeker who just shakes it off obedience must be total. In
like a bear. spiritual matters, the more
you grow, the more you rely
Having found a spiritual on your Guide’s wisdom. It
technique, a Guide, and is a matter of survival.
having become established
in the practice, how Does the spiritual seeker
can a seeker assess his ever reach a stage where
progress? What criteria he can consider that he
should he use? has reached the goal?

A seeker can never assess There is no such thing as Republished from Parabola,
Vol. 24, No. 3, Fall 2004, pp.
his own progress. Even my a fixed goal in spirituality.
28-32 with permission.
Guide used to say, “What I It is ever changing. Learn

Hear tfulness
Benedicte Hervy

A heart full of vacuity


is what meditating on the heart brings to me.

Earlier, my heart was full of the burden of the past, but little by little
meditation has freed me and I feel lighter every day. I find myself open
to what the present has to offer, open to all those I meet.

When I was young I read poetry, and one sentence awoke in my heart the
nostalgia of a forgotten state of being:
I would like to be a simple puddle of water to reflect the sky.

To get back to simplicity and transparency would allow infinity to reflect


itself in me. That aspiration was there.

Meditation awoke in me the longing to become a simple and humble


being, yet rich with the immensity of the universe.

That spiritual longing is there in every one of us.


The awakened state is not only for the Buddha; it is for every one of us
if we let ourselves be fascinated by the beauty of our inner world.

In today’s world we tend to look outside, seeing people in two dimensions:


he is happy, she is sad, he is fat, she is thin.
We don’t see the other dimensions, the depth of the person, because this
can only be seen with the eyes of the heart.

And if we don’t see our own depth, how can we see depth in anyone else?
By meditating, I regain awareness of my depth and the many other
dimensions awaiting me.

As children of our creator, isn’t it possible that we may have inherited a


small part of his infinity?

Ja nua r y 2018
Lord, the air smells good today,
straight from the mysteries
within the inner courts of God.
A grace like new clothes thrown
across the garden, free medicine for everybody.
The trees in their prayer, the birds in praise,
the first blue violets kneeling.
Whatever came from Being is caught up in
being, drunkenly
forgetting the way back.
Rumi
Plants of the world

Matcha

The story of matcha tea tells how Matcha tea has become increasingly
tea drinking became a meditation. popular over the past few years.
They say it was once the tea of Zen
TOM MICHAELSEN Masters in Japan.
72 interviews SANDEH VON Is this true?
TUCHER who runs the Tushita Matcha actually comes from China, as does
Teahouse in Munich about matcha. all tea culture. In China, tea was first regarded
as a medicinal plant and was pulverized,
steeped in hot water and then whisked with
a bamboo whisk. But that was from normal,
non-shaded tea plants, which had a somewhat
bitter, medicinal taste and contained a lot of
catechins. Then, in the twelfth century, Zen
Master Eisai brought the tea tradition to
Japan. He experimented with the tea in his
monastery in Kyoto and was the first to draw
up a set of rules for the preparation of tea.
These rules can already be regarded as the
precursors to the Japanese tea ceremony. And
the monks took advantage of the effect of
the tea to meditate more intensely and for
longer periods of time. Through connections
between monks, samurai and shoguns, tea
spread to other circles of society. But initially,
tea drinking was an elite affair, reserved for
the wealthy.

Hear tfulness
What is the basis of the stimulating effect, and what is important
effect of matcha tea ? is the right balance. Therefore, it is really
essential for the water temperature to be
In order to improve upon the tea’s taste, the at around 70° C or 158° F, and that is also
tea plants were shaded, which caused more the temperature of the water used in a
amino acids to be produced, giving the tea traditional tea ceremony:
a sweeter taste. So initially it was only a 73
question of taste. Only later did it become • Pour some hot water into the tea bowl
apparent that these amino acids were to warm the bowl and the whisk; empty
responsible for the soothing effect. And the water after a few minutes.
it’s the combination of amino acids and
catechins that make up matcha tea’s soul. • Place 2 g matcha green tea powder in
This harmonious balance of the mixture the bowl and steep it in 60 ml of hot
finally determines the quality and the price water at 70°C.
of high-grade matcha. The amino acids have
the soothing effect and the catechins are • Press the whisk gently against the
simultaneously somewhat stimulating. bottom of the bowl and whisk, using at
first a circular and then a zigzag motion
Can the benefits offered by match to achieve a frothy brew.
green tea be destroyed
by preparing it the wrong way? Is it true that certain ingredients in
matcha tea are more effective if they
Yes, if the water is too hot. This destroys do not come into contact with hot
some of the chlorophyll and extracts more water but are used in a smoothie, for
catechins from the tea. From the point example, and not heated at all?
of view of traditional Chinese medicine,
catechins have astringent and ‘lowering’ With a smoothie it’s like this: there are many
properties. But at the same time there effective ingredients you can use, which act
are substances in the tea that have quite a in different ways. For example, if you use

Ja nua r y 2018
you take this bit of time, you center yourself,
you breathe into your belly below your navel,
and then you begin to whisk this tea with your
fruit, you’ll have a higher fructose content; if body, not just with your wrist, but with your
you use rocket it will have a different effect whole body. And the simple fact that you are
than spinach. When you mix a smoothie, you doing this does something to the tea.
have many different active ingredients to deal
with. Some people find traditional matcha tea
bitter and prefer to drink it with milk, as
Isn’t matcha tea’s antioxidant activity matcha latte. Does this alter the effect
above all due to the fact that the tea of matcha tea?
leaf is very finely ground and also that
you drink the whole leaf? It certainly does. Matcha has this ‘lowering’
and clarifying effect. The fog that sometimes
Exactly, we drink the whole leaf. And the surrounds us is gathered and sinks down. And
shading is also important. Good matcha tea the milk, especially if it is cow’s milk, has
is fluorescent green. That’s the chlorophyll. great moistening capacity and therefore has an
What’s important is the combination of almost contrary effect. You could instead add a
catechins, chlorophyll and drinking the whole plant milk, such as unsweetened almond milk
leaf. or unsweetened rice or soy milk. These also
74 have a fluid-enhancing quality, but they do
Do I really need a bamboo whisk to not promote mucous formation. Because that’s
prepare matcha tea or will an electric what matcha also does, it can transform fluids
milk frother do as well? that are unclean and expel them. Together
with a plant milk would be perfectly all right,
Well, it’s really quite helpful to use a bamboo but with cow’s milk it would really be a pity.
whisk. Bamboo whisks are very easy to use
and clean. Of course, it’s also possible to use How do you know if it’s good matcha?
an electric milk frother, but it would be kind
of a pity. I find that you can’t really separate Matcha is not really a trademarked product,
preparing matcha tea from drinking it. And but you can tell by the colour. It all depends
if you take half a minute or a minute to on the colour. Of course, we also have different
prepare it, then you actually get much more kinds of matcha at Tushita. The matcha we use
out of it than if you do it with an electric for smoothies is also green, but of course it is
frother. Because you simply feel what kind of not as green as the matcha I use when I want
condition you’re in. If you’re feeling strong, to drink pure matcha and which I prepare in
you also whisk it forcefully. If you are centered, my Japanese tea bowl. That’s much greener.
your froth will be nice. What kind of thoughts
are you thinking? There are actually quite a few There are more catechins in the matcha used
aspects that come together in this short time for smoothies, which contains the coarser
it takes to prepare matcha tea. You also give leaves that sometimes have been exposed
the tea some of your Chi. Which only means to a bit of sunlight. It simply shows in the

Hear tfulness
colour, and you can tell by its effect. So, How long can you keep an open packet
high-grade matcha stimulates the senses of matcha tea at home?
and simultaneously soothes the heart. That
means that when you meditate, for example,
it refreshes your spirit and at the same time If you really want to have the matcha tea
your body is nice and relaxed. You can simply energy, then about four weeks.
observe your thoughts or your breath with good
matcha tea, whereas if it’s lower grade matcha What else is necessary to brew
the system is simply in turmoil. Lower grade traditional matcha tea?
matcha doesn’t contain as much chlorophyll
or as many amino acids, and it contains more The right kind of tea-making equipment.
catechins, so your system becomes excited and There are these wonderful ceramic tea bowls
then it is very, very difficult to really observe that have to be a little wider at the bottom,
your mind. Unless you put in a bit of vegetable so that one can really whisk nicely. There are
or something similar, then the calming effect bowls that are used in winter that are a little
might come about through other substances. taller to hold the warmth better, and a summer
bowl with a wider mouth that lets the tea cool
Is there something else we should be more quickly. Then there is the long bamboo
aware of? spoon used in Japan to measure out the tea –
two measures of matcha powder for one cup of
Perhaps we should take a look at how the tea. The tradition is to first warm the cup with
matcha has been packaged. And where it was hot water and then dry it again. Water quality
packaged. Was it packaged on site in Japan is important, too. If you are drinking high- 75
or was it packaged here in Europe? That also quality matcha, you should use water with low
makes a difference, because the extremely calcium content – it simply tastes better.
finely ground matcha powder is so sensitive. It
oxidizes very quickly when it is exposed to air,
and especially the chlorophyll is very sensitive.
Thus matcha loses Chi very quickly, which
means it loses energy and freshness.

Ja nua r y 2018
on dreams
s
n
a
76 k
e
s
and opening doors

CHIARA TOWNLEY explores the depth of meaning that


dreams can bring to unlocking the subconscious mind.

Hear tfulness
Be open to change

It happens to many of us that we wake up restless in the morning after a crazy dream.
But what if our dreams are actually delivering important messages to us? Some people
say they have prophetic dreams. When we dream during our sleep, we have the power
to tap into the subconscious and discover deeper truths about ourselves. How to
develop this skill?

After reading Autobiography of a Yogi I started to consider the idea of writing a journal
to keep track of my dreams. In this book, Yogananda explains that enlightened
spiritual beings can steer their dreams in the direction they want. He also mentions
that once you are aware of dreaming in your dreams, it means that you are developing
spiritually.

After reading this revealing book, I desired to develop an inner connection with my
dreams. I was going through some changes in my life – a new city, new house, new
professional life – and I wasn’t able to find a clear vision of what to do next. I don’t
remember the setting of one dream, but I do recall that I was wondering about the
‘snakes’ in my life. I don’t think the word was referring necessarily to people; maybe
it was referring to the anxious thoughts I was developing in that stressful moment.
I repeated the word ‘snakes’ several times during the dream, and kept on asking the
Universe about the meaning of them. Suddenly, the reply came: “Change skin.” In the 77
dream, I remember repeating those words several times aloud, and when I woke up I
knew that that the Universe had delivered a message to me.

I believe that reading about spirituality and practicing meditation can open the door
to enchanting realities hidden behind the veil of the rational world in front of our
eyes. Once that door opens even a tiny bit, we have the chance to take spiritual
development to the next level. This doesn’t mean that the answers to our questions
will come through a dream, but that if you stay open and receptive you will find
messages everywhere on your path.

After my ‘snake’ dream I didn’t know what to think or how to change my skin, but at
least I knew that I had found part of a secret code to communicate with my dreams.
After a couple of weeks, during a flight to Europe, I was listening to a podcast by the
spiritual leader Tara Brach. She mentioned a metaphor about a snake changing skin
– there it was again, the same message in a different form.

I don’t know what ‘changing skin’ means in my life, but I certainly know that the
Universe is telling me to change something deep within me. I will keep looking for
more clues on my path and push that door until it is wide open. Every one of us has
a spiritual path waiting to be discovered, and if we are diligent and consistent in our
search I guarantee we can all find it.

Ja nua r y 2018
Top. Land of Joy. Let the joy of Creation fill the heart.
Left Flowers. Flowers bring warmth to the heart.
Right Flowers. Joy. What joy it is to watch flowers.

Hear tfulness
Ar t and environment

to wonder & be
surprised
To wonder and be surprised An art essay by
by the wonders of nature. B E NT E E L I S A B E TH E N D R E S E N
This is the core of
my existence.

I stood by the Norwegian coast high up


north. The weather had been mild, sunny and 79
pleasant, not too cold. The sky was clear blue.
We were a little group building an old-style
boat, inspired by a Viking ship. In a break, we
looked out on the ocean view and the wonderful
northern Norwegian landscape with high and
impressive mountains surrounded by narrow
strips of land. Here humans had survived
under harsh living conditions in a cold climate.

Suddenly there was a chilly breeze and clouds


of different dark gray-blue tones got closer.
Surprisingly quickly the sky grew visibly
darker and, before we could withdraw there
was a violent storm of thunder and lightning.

I stood completely fascinated, feeling this


marvelous power of the elements of nature. It
was a demonstration of magnificent energy
and variation of colors. The sky was all kinds
of blue. Some parts were clear blue sky; others
were dark gray-blue turning almost black.

Ja nua r y 2018
I was completely happy, thankful to be raising awareness and spreading knowledge
experiencing a spectacular show of nature. of solutions. One way is through art.

The main inspiration for most of my paintings Along with the outer path of my life, there
is the Nordic and Arctic environment. My is an inner path, and when I paint I go into
upbringing in northern Norway and many a room of my own, a space where I can be
years in Greenland had such a strong impact in contact with the paintings coming out of
on me. I paint the elements – earth, water, air stillness. There are a lot of images waiting to
and fire, and the fifth element, the Cosmos. be painted. My part is to be a channel, and not
stand in the way for the impulses that come.
Closeness to nature has resulted in an To encourage these impulses, I meditate,
everlasting wonder about Creation – from listen to creation music, and read myths that
the tiniest seed turning into a perfect tree, cultivate the atmosphere I want to express in
to a total fascination with the Cosmos. An the paintings.
ongoing theme of my paintings is Creation,
and I am deeply fascinated by the questions Back in northern Norway in wintertime, I
that are studied in an attempt to understand travel inland to a camp where the indigenous
more about the Cosmos. Lapp people of the north live.

80 Living close to the Arctic has led me to raise In the darkness of the 24-hour Arctic winter’s
awareness of the changes in climate we are night, we set off sledging with reindeer across
now experiencing. They are so visible in the the snow and ice. The wind can be noisy, but
Arctic region, where nature is so vulnerable to on a clear night the stars shine very brightly,
the disturbances of pollution and temperature arching across the sky, in absolute silence. We are
change. Glaciers are melting at an alarming hoping to see another silent wonder of nature,
rate. Flora and fauna are changing as their the Northern Lights – the Aurora Borealis. And
living conditions change. The ocean is filled the wonder happens. The sky is filled with green
with plastic pollution. Sea birds are found light that flits and dances between the silhouetted
with up to 40% of plastic in their stomach. mountaintops.
Whales die from eating plastic. In cooperation
with artists and scientists, I have curated
exhibitions, concerts, talks and workshops
to help people observe and understand the
effects of climate change.

I am now in contact with dedicated people Top. Arctic. Arctic is water element in all forms; snow,
concerned with aspects of sustainability, all in ice, water, clouds filled with water.
Bottom left. Light in Arctic. The sky in the Arctic is
many different occupations. We meet regularly
high and clear, and produces a special, uplifting light.
to discuss the UN’s 17 Pathways to Peace and Right. Water element in motion. The fascinating
Justice, and how we can play a positive role in transformation of water in all forms.

Hear tfulness
81

Ja nua r y 2018
L ess o n s
From
82
t h e garde n

A L A N DA G R E E N E
on the wealth and continuity of life
in the process of composting, and the power
of death, transformation and rebirth.

Hear tfulness
Natural cycles

c ompos t .
Today I feel wealthy. Knee-deep in richness.
Standing in the compost, moving aside
the top layer to access loamy, dark material
underneath. Over and over, I fill two large
buckets, carry them to the garden, pour
them over cabbage
leaves and carrot fronds. Then back to the
bin with empty buckets, do it again. Dig
a trench through the rotted, fermented,
transformed vegetation, shovel the top level My method is to just take stuff – radish
of the compost beside it into the trench, dig leaves and chickweed, parsley stems and
again into this body of digested leavings. dandelions – from the garden to the bin,
throw it in, include lots of roots with soil on
Full disclosure: I don’t compost the expert them, now and then toss a bit around and
way that many do. I don’t pay attention mix up some of the more processed compost
to the layers, to the timing, to the turning; with the less. Thanks to the efforts of worms 83
these are processes which produce enough and digesters like sowbugs, I get rich, fertile
heat to cook any weed seeds left in the ground to support the next round of garden
material, and to transform everything to an vegetables.
incredibly fertile ground.
The bin we have is large, built on a hillside
But every forkful I lift teems with worms, and the material gets thrown in on top
incredibly abundant, chewing on all that and is pulled out on the downhill side
vegetable matter, digesting it, and casting looking like dark, rich loam. I take it from
it out. If I do the ‘proper’ compost method, the bottom in spring and summer, but by
the heat is too much for the worms. They autumn, it’s time to get right into the bin
are such amazing little wiggly gardeners, and move it around methodically and move
their poop is fantastically fertile and I just it out with more gusto and quantity. Hence,
really like them in the garden. I just like today, I’m knee-deep in its richness.
them period. So my compost doesn’t process
as well as it could, it still will have weed This process has been going on for years.
seeds, but it has a lot of helpful worms and Such a cycle, such wealth. Can you imagine
in fact I have a much easier time with the anything more fundamentally rich and
composting process. profitable than fertile, productive soil?

Ja nua r y 2018
Our house was constructed on a hillside True confession: I really didn’t get this
that was originally forested. We cleared early on, when I was getting going with
enough for a garden and home, and the building a life. So much to do, to learn,
forest soil was depleted, light buff and to discover. Work often felt like an
dusty. annoying necessity that got in the way of
doing the really good stuff. First Nations
When I began working with a grub hoe to teachings include the wisdom: learning
clean out the gravel and stones, there was takes patience and time. After more time
little left but a hole when I finished. The than patience, but having the patience to
soil that is now deep, black, full of organic persevere, learning indeed has come, in
material and very productive was built up ways not anticipated. So I’ve become a fan
year after year. The vegetables grew and the of many forms of perseverance and effort.
compost grew. For all that is taken out, it
seems like more comes back in. Lifting another forkful of compost,
seeing the lacework of red lines that are
It’s like this with a life. It can be. Building worms, finding small, oval and many-
up experience, skills, knowledge, wisdom, legged sowbugs scurrying to escape the
through years of engaging with work disruption, I ask myself: what if worms and
and learning. My teacher repeatedly said, bugs quit doing their continual work of
“Work is worship.” breaking down this material into a once-
84 again usable form, better than ever? My
part in this is insignificant compared to
their transformational magic. I just get the
stuff to the bin. A bit later, I’m rich. Rich
in fertile compost, rich in hard-working
Compost is a teeming, living worms and other digesters. What if they
decided not to make the effort?
reminder of the power of death,
transformation, rebirth. When I first learned about the Hindu
trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva – Creator,
Preserver, Destroyer – I was not a big fan
of Shiva. The Destroyer felt like the one
responsible for my dog being hit by a car
and killed, for a friend gone in a car crash,

Hear tfulness
for so much pain in the lives around me that in order to be able to transfer it to others.
seemed caused by this destructive force. Why What he understood now, whether it was
did Shiva have to do that? yoga or woodwork, was that these teachers
had made the effort to acquire knowledge,
Thankfully, my concepts about the skill and wisdom in order to teach others.
destroying power have expanded and His aim was to give the time needed, the
deepened and my understanding of Shiva perseverance and effort, in order to be able
has done the same. What would have to pass on his own learning to others.
happened if my adolescent concepts had
not been destroyed for new learning? And It’s like the compost process: an enrichment
of more import, as I stand in this bin of over time, a lot gained from growth, and
material in various stages of decomposition, then all of the material becomes transformed
what would have happened if all this into fertile new ground that goes back to the
compost material had not been destroyed garden to support more growth.
and transformed into something else?
True wealth.
Rumi, so long ago, reminded us:

I died as a mineral and was born as a plant,


I died as a plant and was born as an animal,
I died as an animal and was born as a 85
human,
….
When have I ever been less by dying?

Compost is a teeming, living reminder of


the power of death, transformation, rebirth.

A couple of days ago I listened to a young


man who recently returned to school after
living two years in a spiritual community.
He talked about his own learning, and about
how grateful he was that his teachers had
themselves gone through a lot of learning

Ja nua r y 2018
Traditions & rituals

Evolving traditions
M E GH A N A A N A N D e x p l o r e s t h e i n t e n t i o n s b e h i n d
time-honored traditions and rituals.

Bonne Année!
Frohes neues Jahr!
Xīnnián kuàilè!
Saal Mubarak!
86
Happy New Year!

Old memories cherished. New resolutions Nobody can make a tradition; it takes a century
made. It’s the start of another year that to make it.
brings in its tide changes that we may look Nathaniel Hawthorne
forward to with hope in our hearts.
Traditions are probably as old as humans.
Welcoming the New Year is a popular Today, New Year happens on 1 January,
tradition, and a quick search on the an arbitrary day in the Gregorian calendar
Internet will reveal to you the diversity of with no cosmic significance, but it reflects
celebrations all over the world. The origin of the need for a renewal of life in the darkest
this tradition can be traced back to ancient part of the year in the northern hemisphere.
Babylon, and over time different regions The reference to this tradition introduces
and communities adapted it adding new the concept of the roots of various beliefs
zeal and flavor. and practices that have been handed down
from generation to generation. How do
That’s how most traditions evolve. these age-old rituals and ceremonies reflect
the culture and upbringing of a particular
group of people? What was their purpose?

Hear tfulness
Over time, many traditions and rituals have Why is the drumbeat an integral part of
lost their original meaning. Delving into African rituals? How did the tea-drinking
that significance reveals much about bygone ceremonies evolve in oriental countries? What
eras and the knowledge of the people who is the relevance of ancient Indian and Native
developed them. Keeping the essence alive in American rituals in today’s times?
present times may radically contribute towards
the making of a better tomorrow. As we as a The spiritual and scientific purpose behind
species evolve, so do our beliefs and practices. many of them, if not all, can be quite fascinating.
It opens our minds to the benefit of these
Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh, in traditional practices in our daily lives. And not
their international bestseller, The Path, give only do they impact our lives as individuals,
a very innovative perspective on the simple but they have a broader effect on the society
activity of playing hide-and-seek with a four- at large. Today many scholars are conducting
year-old: research in the field of indigenous science,
traditional knowledge and the study of nature.
“When you play this game – when you crouch with Rosalyn R. LaPier, a Research Associate from
your foot sticking out of a closet door so that she can Harvard University states, “Let us remember
find you easily, when she laughs with glee upon that long before western science came to these
discovering you, and when you enthusiastically shores, there were scientists here…. Western
repeat the game with her again and again – you science is a powerful approach, but it is not the
are not just engaging in lighthearted play. The only one. Indigenous science provides a wealth
two of you are participating in a ritual by taking of knowledge and a powerful alternative 87
on roles that diverge from your usual ones – a paradigm.”
ritual that allows you to construct a new reality.
“… We tend to think of ritual as something Do you have a longstanding tradition or
that tells us what to do, not as something custom followed in your family or community?
transformative.” If you would like to share it with our readers,
please write to us at
For the rational human being of today,‘tradition’ contributions@heartfulnessmagazine.com.
may be synonymous with superstition. So
we need a spirit of inquiry to delve into the References
Puett, M. & C. Gross-Loh. 2016.
original purpose of any tradition. For example, The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach
why does a meal in most traditions end with Us About the Good Life, p. 23, Simon & Schuster,
a sweet dish? What is the rationale behind New York.
fasting on specific days of the month? Why https://theconversation.com/why-native-
do people of some cultures bow, some bring americans-do-not-separate-religion-from-science
their hands together, and some others shake
hands with each other as a form of greeting?

Ja nua r y 2018
Heartfulness In the Field
W h at we ' v e bee n up t o

Yoga. It means 'to join'. Its ultimate aim experience and not merely theoretical
is to unite the self with the universal knowledge and, most importantly, on light-
consciousness. In October I decided to do heartedness!
the Heartfulness Yoga Teachers Training.
As soon as I set foot in the Babuji Memorial We had group meditation every day
Ashram Manapakkam in Chennai, it felt with a senior Heartfulness trainer. I can
like home! The atmosphere at the ashram not emphasise enough the benefits of
was one of serenity and tranquility. We were Heartfulness meditation. I have experienced
a batch of 38 people from different corners immense transformation in myself. I lost
of the world blended together. my fears, my anger, my restlessness, my
confusion, my worries and all that was
Our days began early with Yoga followed unwanted. It has given me a sense of higher
by discussions and lessons ranging from the purpose and enthused me with the will to
body and mind to the soul. A lot of emphasis make a change in myself.
was laid on Karma Yoga, learning through
J o i n o n li n e

Heartfulness events are ongoing across the UK


and Ireland.

We have made forays into new arenas such as


the crown courts in London. In a few other
corporate settings, e.g., Peterborough and Jannicka Bassis
Bradford, new participants are coming together
on a regular basis, to deepen their experience. Join us for a webinar on New Year,
Groups are also ongoing in hospital settings in New Possibilities: Keeping Resolutions,
Shropshire and West Yorkshire. Aspirations and Inspiration Alive…

A Heartfulness Meditation society has been Key takeaways:


set up by one of our students at Middlesex
University with 160 members. A Heartfulness • Preparation to take action in the New
stall set up during Freshers week attracted a Year.
lot of attention and plans for regular events are • Working to overcome stumbling blocks
being put into action and links have been made and achieve one's New Year Resolutions.
with the Psychology and Nursing Departments. • Decision making for new aspirations,
new resolutions, in career, personal life,
Following Freshers week at Derby University, a goals.
number of sessions are planned to take place in • Tips to keep the inspiration alive.
the Multifaith centre in 2018. • Mold your living to achieve your
aspirations.
Events in schools are ongoing. In Ireland and • An experiential session of Heartfulness
Scotland trainers have been invited back into Relaxation and meditation.
schools, to develop the work already undertaken
with the children. A whole primary school Saturday, 27th January, Saturday, 7 PM IST,
experienced Heartfulness in Wales, with plans 8:30 AM US Eastern Time, 1:30 PM GMT
to develop Heartfulness audios in the Welsh
language. The head teacher was very open to us, Register at
with a deep concern for the children's emotional
http://webinar.heartfulness.org/
well being.
new-year-new-possibilities/
Things to do

re t reat
Up
More Magazine, Please
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e n j oy single, 12 months subscription and
24 months subscription -
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90 Himalayas. We extend our wholehearted invitation Printed copies will be available
to you for a unique experience in the quietude of our at selected stores, airports and
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serenity of the snow-capped and majestic Himalayas. Centers and Ashrams.
We look forward to welcoming you at the Babuji
Nilayam, your home during your stay in Satkhol.
www.sahajmarg.org/smww/satkhol/

M as t eri n g B ei n g

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Hear tfulness
Happy readi n g

The Heartfulness Way

In this uncommon text, you will


discover a special collection of
meditations and an exceedingly
rare feature known as yogic
transmission. Together, they
awaken the depths of human
potential and initiate a mystical
inner journey. In this process,
the heart becomes a perennial
source of wisdom and guidance to help you navigate
life’s twists and turns and lead a life more connected to 91
yourself and others.
www.theheartfulnessway.com

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S t udy U p

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Ja nua r y 2018
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